Again this is YIE ….The Ultimate YIE Series for the Astros | CHIPALATTA, but there are a lot of things to like about the Astros so far in 2021.
- If you went up to 100 Astro fans before the season and offered them a 4-2 road trip to start the season against the A’s and the Angels, I’m betting 90 of them would have taken it. Well, 5-1 was a top-notch way to start the season and about all, anyone could have expected from this team.
- The one loss on the trip was disappointing as the bullpen yakked up a lead late, but the Astros immediately turned it around the next day with a solid effort to get out of LA with a 1-1 split. There are a lot of teams who after a heart-wrenching loss and then falling behind 2-0 in the first inning of the next game would have folded like the country of France in any war you can name. The Astros hung tough and won the most satisfying game of the season.
- The Astros offense has been dominant in the first six games. They are first in the AL with 45 runs scored. The White Sox are second (42 runs) but have played seven games. The Astros are leading the AL with a .295 BA. The Royals are second at .269. The Astros are first in the AL with a .371 OBP. The Royals are second with .357. The Astros are first in the AL with a .893 OPS. The Royals are second with .819. The Astros are first in the AL with 12 HRs. The Angels and Blue Jays are tied for second with 9 HRs. Sense a pattern here?
- The Astros’ offense was this dominant despite some of their everyday players struggling a bit…..Martin Maldonado (.050 BA), Kyle Tucker (.192 BA) and Myles Straw (.200) all are bound to hit better. Well maybe not Straw, but if he doesn’t he may flop spots with bench dweller Chas McCormick. This extends to Carlos Correa, who despite his .250 BA had not had an RBI until his 9th inning 2 run homer broke the tie and won their 6th game. The point is that even if some folks cool off, there are other folks that may ramp up.
- The offense has been led by three players (Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman) who were bad in 2020, one player (Michael Brantley) who was very good in 2020 and one player (Yordan Alvarez) who was injured in 2020. Altuve leads the AL with 9 runs scored. Kyle Tucker is tied for 2nd in RBIs with 9 despite only having 5 hits. He’s tied for the AL lead with 3 home runs. Bregman has a heck of a slash line with .429 BA/ .478 OBP/ 1.240 OPS which is only a shadow of Brantley’s insane (though in only 3 games) .667 BA/ .727 OBP/ 2.172 OPS.
- The Astros’ starters have been not quite as dominant as the offense, but they have plenty of good. They are third in the AL with a 2.76 ERA. They are second in the AL with a 1.02 WHIP. They are tied with the Red Sox for third in total innings at 29.1 IP, though the A’s are ahead of them after playing 7 games instead of 6. This is good considering that this is a team that is missing Jake Odorizzi and Framber Valdez. Oh, and Justin Verlander….
- Zack Greinke was wishy-washy about pitching opening day, but his performance has been anything but wishy-washy. He leads the AL with 13 innings pitched, just ahead of some guy named Cole and has put up a super-strong 1.38 ERA and 0.692 WHIP, while striking out 8 hitters for every walk he had given up. Lance McCullers in his one start threw a strong 5 innings only giving up one run.
- Similarly, the Astros’ bullpen even with a blown game against the Angels has been very good. Their 2.76 ERA is third in the AL as is their 1.14 WHIP. Their performance has been critical especially in the early parts of the season, when every starter not named Greinke, has been struggling to get beyond that 3 to 5 inning range.
- Ryan Pressly, Ryne Stanek, Brandon Bielak and Bryan Abreu have all been particularly strong out of the bullpen – none of them giving up any runs up to this point.
It has been enjoyable watching a team that seems to have a clue/plan when they are hitting or pitching. Have they been perfect? No, but they have been darned good and leaving the fans wanting to see more.