In the modern world, our kids and grandkids are rewarded for just showing up. For the 2020 Astros, that is not good enough, but it appears that is where they are headed.
After another snoozer of an offensive effort on Friday night, the Astros went down to the 20-32 Arizona D’Backs 6-3. Yes, the pitching could have been better, but lately even when the pitching has been better, the offense has been on vacation. After somehow squeezing 2 wins in 3 games against the 18-33 Rangers, when they had only 6 runs and 17 hits total, it was hoped that they would show better in their final home series of the year.
That hope was shattered as they needed a wild pitch to score one run with the bases loaded in the first inning. It was discouraging to watch three strikeouts in a row in that situation with Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel going down looking on strikes well within the zone.
While this team is nowhere near the team that lost in the ALCS in 2018, there are vibes coming from these Astros that perhaps like with that team, some of the guys who have returned from injury are not over their injuries, but soldiering on despite them.
Alex Bregman missed 3 weeks with a hamstring injury. He has come back looking tentative both at the plate and running. In the nine games since his return he is slashing (swishing?) .179 BA/ .303 OBP/ .553 OPS with only two extra base hits (doubles) to his name. This was game 51 for the team and he last hit a home run in game 17.
Jose Altuve has probably been battling his knee problems more than he has let on, but just came back from a 10 day stint on the IL. Since coming back he is hitting .154 BA/ .313 OBP/ .543 OPS with 1 extra base hit (a double to right center last night) and no RBIs. But this is nothing new, he has been bad for a long time. His last home run? Game 12. His last RBI? Game 24
As far as we know Yuli Gurriel has not been hurt, but his last 20 games have been pretty awful. Since Aug. 25 he has been slashing an anemic .191 BA/ .205 OBP/ .485 OPS with 1 home run. Look at that .205 OBP! You have to go back 30 games to find another home run for Yuli. Maybe he needs to go visit Carlos Beltran for some hitting advice.
Overall, Michael Brantley has been one of the better hitters on the team this season. But a quick look at his last 8 games reveal a .194 BA/ .219 OBP/ .455 OPS with 0 runs scored, 0 HRs and 0 RBIs. Knowing Brantley he will come out of this funk soon.
In his last 17 games, Josh Reddick has been on a complete dive as he has been slashing .143 BA/ .213 OBP/ .445 OPS. His 1 HR and 6 RBIs in those games seem almost mighty compared to that. Reddick may be playing out the last of his Astros career at this point and has definitely been in a downward spiral since the 2017 season at the plate.
It feels unfair to jump on Martin Maldonado, who carried a lot more offense than expected early in the season, but he has been slumping too. In his last 15 games he is hitting .178 BA/ .275 OBP/ .630 OPS with 2 HR and 4 RBIs. In his case it is probably just him finding his normal hitting level.
Though he had been carrying the team for about 3 weeks, Preston (oops) Kyle Tucker over the last 10 games has hit .162 BA/ .184 OBP/ .462 OPS with 1 HR and 3 RBIs. He seemed to be coming out of his slump in the last couple of games and boy is that needed.
In his last 27 games, Carlos Correa has been better than all those above, but has also been on a downward slope slashing .242 BA/ .287 OBP/ .624 OPS with only 5 extra base hits (3 doubles, 2 HRs).
It is probably no surprise that the one contrarian among this group of (so-called) hitters is George Springer, who has been the one shining star the last few weeks. In his last 16 games he is slashing .313 BA/ .353 OBP/ 1.009 OPS with 16 runs scored, 6 HRs and 9 RBIs.
The bench? Let’s just say the bench sucks and leave it at that.
The Astros have 9 games to right the ship offensively. It is almost impossible to picture this group of players continuing to hit at such a ludicrously low level. Somebody has to break out and start hitting. Right? Please someone convince me of that.