More about the Astros’ offense

The Astros just came off of a 6-3 road trip where they averaged 7.33 runs per game, capped off by their 20 hit / 14 run effort against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. The team has been turning into a juggernaut with production up and down the lineup. How has that looked so far?

Batting Average. The Astros are leading the AL (and the major leagues) with a .274 BA. Second in the AL are the Blue Jays at .264, while the AL league average is way down at .241. The bottom dwellers are the Mariners at .209 (ouch). Individually, the Astros have three players in the top 10 in the AL, Michael Brantley (2nd at .337), Yuli Gurriel (fourth at .323) and Yordan Alvarez (eighth at .302). In addition, they have five players in the top 17 with Jose Altuve (16th at .288) and Carlos Correa (17th at .288). That is strong.

On Base Percentage. The Astros again are leading the AL and the majors with a .344 OBP. Second in the AL are the White Sox at .342, while the AL league average is .313 and the Mariners are again bottom feeders at .286 OBP. The Astros have three players in the top 10 with Yuli Gurriel (3rd at .392), Michael Brantley (8th at .381) and Carlos Correa (10th at .376). They have two more in the next 10, with Alex Bregman at 14 (.366) and Jose Altuve at 19 (.358).

OPS (On-Base Plus Slugging). The Astros complete the sombrero trick here as they lead both the AL and majors with a .789 OPS. The Blue Jays are second in the AL at .781, the league average is .718 and the M’s are again last at .652. For OPS, the Astros have six in the top 25 in the AL, with Gurriel (5th at .929), Brantley (14th at .879), Alvarez (15th at .873), Correa (16th at .868), Kyle Tucker (23rd at .832) and Altuve (24th at .831).

Runs Per Game. The Astros are leading the world at 5.51 runs per game, well ahead of the Blue Jays at 5.10 runs/gm, more than a run above the league average of 4.49 runs/gm and more than 1.7 runs ahead of the cellar-dwelling Tigers at 3.74 (which didn’t prevent Detroit from sweeping the Astros earlier this season). The Astros have two players in the top 6 and four in the top 20 in runs scored. Altuve is 5th in the AL with 45 runs scored, Correa is 6th with 44 runs scored, Tucker is tied for 12th with 42 runs scored and Bregman is 20th with 37.

Interestingly, when it comes to RBIs, Gurriel is tied for 6th in the AL with 47, and Tucker is 12th with 43 RBIs, but they have no one else in the Top 25.

The Astros are second in the league in BAbip (batting average on balls in play) at .310 with the league average of .291. This might show a bit of luck on their part, though they certainly hit a lot of balls solidly.

A little power surge lately has moved the Astros into a tie for fifth in the AL with 81 home runs. However, the only player they have in the top 20 is Kyle Tucker, who is tied for 15th with 13 homers on the season.

That is the thing about this season for the Astros. They are not really riding one or two huge bats on the offensive end this season. They are getting there with good to very good performances almost across the board. As a friend of the blog, Astro Nut, pointed out yesterday, if the Astros started Chas McCormick and Jason Castro in place of Myles Straw and Martin Maldonado, they would have a whole lineup of bats with +.800 OPS and that would be a strong statement.

Again, the offense is only part of the game and a shaky bullpen has given away a number of games for this team. Still, this offense gives them a chance almost every day and what more can you ask?

85 comments on “More about the Astros’ offense

    • That’s why I’m really excited about 2022. We’ve got a lot of cheap young guys in Alvarez, Urquidy, Javier and Garcia. Hopefully Abreu too. With Tucker and Framber, does the club try to extend them early? And we’ve got money to pay Pressly and pick up more bullpen help. Who’s our shortstop though?

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  1. I would like to ask that Chas gets more playing time. Why is Taylor Jones getting some of his outfield innings? I really like the thought of both a healthy Diaz and Chas on the bench as we go into the post season. But I do think losing Chas for relief help is a real possibility.

    We will hit more homeruns going forward. Yordan just needs to act more like Barry Bonds up there. Walk, walk and walk some more if need be. Force the league to throw strikes. They can’t afford to walk Alvarez all day with Yuli and Carlos and Tucker coming up behind.

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  2. On one hand, dave b, Yordan needs to be a bit more choosy as he is swinging out of the zone too much. On the other hand he seems to be a victim every game of an umpire expanded strike zone, especially outside. So, when he is patient many times he is punished.
    Whether the Astros re-sign any of the major three free agents (Greinke, Verlander or Correa) will steer the direction they will go into the future. With those three off the payroll that would leave a ton of money to be used for extensions, free agents, trade ups, etc. I feel like the shortstop position will be the tougher one to fill than even the starting spot of Greinke (flying without JV the last two seasons anyways). If Correa keeps hitting like he has since he tweaked his leg kick – he will be one of the most popular belles at the free agent dance next offseason.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan, at some point, if Yordan keeps going down looking at balls off the plate, the word will get out. He might have to pay first in order to get the respect he already deserves for having a great eye. And I would not mind Dusty getting tossed every now and then in support.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting that I would assume that we’d offer all three a QO. It wouldn’t be any more than what they are getting now or so I think.

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      • Zanuda,

        I don’t think We’re going to want to pay Grienke or Verlander close to what they are getting now. That money would buy a pretty good starter and a lot of bullpen.

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  3. It is going to be interesting when, starting next week, pitchers won’t be allowed to use sticky stuff. It could help teams make better contact and take more pitches out of the zone, because pitches wont break near as much with lower spin rates..
    It may help umps with the strike zone because pitches won’t have as much movement and will be easier to see.
    I told Mrs 1op that Spider Tack was the pitchers equivalent to a batter’s corked bat. She had never heard of corked bats, but she knows about them now.
    Will Carlos Correa have to get rid of the tacky stuff covering his entire left forearm? I’m sure it helps him control his throws to 1B.
    Ever wonder how it came to be that a catcher automatically throws a ball out of play into his own team’s dugout after it bounces in the dirt? Imagine how much dirt attaches itself to the baseball when the sticky baseball with 2800 rpms hits the dirt.
    How come this 10-game suspension for cheating comes without loss of pay? Is that because baseball is admitting that everybody is doing it, rather than just one team?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tyler I’ve may be done for a long time. He’s been pitching with a nerve problem in his pitching elbow….it appears he MIGHT be headed for TJ surgery soon. Astrosdaily.com had the tweet about him, I just read it. That’s a real blow for him and for the Astros.
    Daveb…I’m glad you mentioned giving Chas, more playing time! Like you I can’t figure out why Taylor Jones is even on this team, except he can play first when Yuli has a day off. As for the “sticky stuff”, if it’s not that it will be something else. There will ALWAYS be something someone will come up with the beat the system. Interesting comment from Keuchel about his upcoming visit to Minute Maid….he said he likes everyone on the Astros right now, but he despised Luhnow and evidently the feeling was mutual.
    In the past the guys haven’t played well after a day off, let’s hope that’s not the case tonight. The guys need to pounce on the arlington little league while they are down.

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  5. I wonder:
    * Is Forrest Whitley still untouchable?
    * Is Taylor Jones in line for a trade.
    * Does Freudis Nova’s performance in A ball make Jeremy Pena even more valuable?
    * Will a really good year for Norel Gonzalez mean Abraham Toro will be available?
    * How can a team with this many good starting pitchers be so bullpen poor?
    * Tyler Ivey says his arm has been hurting since 2019 and didn’t tell the ball club. Martes, Whitley, Emanuel and Ivey. How could on team be blessed with so much dumb?
    * I guess Dallas Keuchel couldn’t just keep his mouth shut. It’s always something with him.
    * Rogelio was just DFA’d by the Nats and Super Jack Mayfield by the Mariners.
    * Pineda, Scherzer, Glasnow, Matz and Boyd all hurt on the same day?
    * Maybe Joe Perez can help feed the Astros sad Prospect Vacuum.
    * Did you know Matthew Barefoot was promoted to Corpus Christi? Whatever.

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    • That’s a lot to consider 1oldpro.

      I’m not sure how much anyone besides us is going to want to invest in Whitley at this point.
      Can we get anything for Jones?
      We’re going to need someone at shortstop before Pena might be ready to go. Or maybe someone at third.
      Norel should be in Sugarland within a couple of months.

      Your questions are getting too difficult.

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  6. One thing I find interesting on this tacky substance issue is that the league will hand out 10 game suspensions and not allow the team to replace the player on the roster. That is additional pressure on the clubs to not allow it to happen

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    • AND, the player doesn’t lose his pay! Other suspensions mean loss of pay, but this won’t.
      Remember when the Astros were the team that could revive your pitching career, especially with spin?
      On a completely different note, don’t you wish you could see Myles Straw pull one teeny mistake into the first row of the Crawford Boxes. Just one bad 90 mph fastball hit over a fence made for high schoolers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Here’s where I stand on Straw, OP. If I have a choice between the non-HR hitting outfielder who has slashed .329 BA/ .384 OBP/ . 778 OPS the last 4 weeks or have him try to muscle up and return to the guy who splish splashed .212 BA/ .289 OBP/ .547 OPS in April – well I’ll take the new Straw (and yes I know he didn’t hit any homers the first month, but I think he was trying to).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just one teeny fly ball off the foul pole in LF. 315 ft. And thank you, Dan, for standing on Straw. After all, he and Chas knocked Tucker out of the lineup tonight against a tough RH pitcher. Poor Kyle must be Tuckered out.

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      • DanP, I know different people see different things in a game. What I saw was Straw late on almost every pitch and fouling most into the first base stands. The slow pitches he might be early and pull but very, very few. I don’t see him overswing. He does swing and miss and so does Chas Mc. He has a decent eye for most ABs. And some he takes strike 3 right down the middle. But for him to hit that magic home run, he will need to be less early on a change up and poke it into the Crawford boxes. But his best chance might be hitting the Pesky Pole in Boston.

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      • I believe the suspension with pay is to prevent the MLBPA from coming for them with torches and pitchforks.

        I don’t have a recollection of the Astros being a team that could revive your career, especially with spin. I did read a national writer make a statement to that effect on Friday, but can’t recall who it was. My recollection was that the Astros specifically targeted pitchers with above average to elite spin rate on their breaking balls. The emphasis by Strom on location of fastballs thrown in their sequences is kind of antithetic to ramping up spin rate on your four seamer. In one approach, location absolutely matters. In the other, you are just trying to get as much late movement and minimize the natural drop on the pitch.

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      • I don’t think Kyle would have minded to have his day off against a lefty. I have no comment on Myles Straw today because we have a whole bunch of offense without his 315 shot. I just want to see more Chas.

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  7. Jason Martin is starting for the Rangers tonight, so you can add him to the list of former Astros prospective OFers who made it to the majors. Crazy.

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  8. What more can we ask of the offense? As great as our offense has been so far, it seems we could do better with Runners In Scoring Position. However, in checking the stats on RISP, we are doing quite well there. With RISP, we are first in the AL in Runs, Hits, RBI, Sacrifice Flies and least Strikeouts.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/tools/split_stats_lg.cgi?full=1&params=bases%7CRISP%7CML%7C2021%7Cbat%7CAB%7C

    We just need to keep our guys healthy and we’ll be fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • While folding laundry on Sunday I was watching an ESPN doc on Dennis Eckersley. It was really good, but reminded me just how much I didn’t remember. In that game 1 loss to the Dodgers he came out for the ninth with a 1 run lead and got the first two outs without any trouble. Then, he walked the tying run (a sin for any reliever). Lasorda sent Kirk Gibson up to pinch hit. Eckersley said their scouting report and pregame meeting said that Gibson wasn’t going to play. He also said they knew he couldn’t hit his fastball. Sure enough, the first pitch was a fastball that Gibson looked horrible on! He fouled it off, late, and jumped around in pain from either his knee or hamstring injury. Eckersley kept pounding him with fastballs, but Gibson fought him off and somehow worked the count to 3-2. The Dodgers had a scout who told them that anytime Eckersley got to 3-2 it would be a guaranteed backdoor slider. Sure enough, that’s what he threw and Gibson made history. In the doc, Eckersley says it was the only pitch Gibson could have hit and he threw it to him.

      Anyhow, I think Correa could have hit anything, but it was clear he was sitting on the slider with a 2-2 count. I wonder if he’d seen video and knew Sborz’ tendancy there or just happened to guess right. I’m thinking the former.

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  9. What an interesting game. From Bregman’s infield single turning into a groundout in the first because he preferred to watch it over running, to the phantom safe call at second base that stuck Altuve with an error, to the Rangers just missing a slam in the 5th when the ball came down safely next to the Shipley sign in Brantley’s glove rather than finding the Crawford Boxes. And then McCullers going into one of his periodic short circuits. And that was not Bob Gibson out there. The career 73-74 Kyle Gibson sure was working the corners, but was getting call on balls fully off the plate all night as if already on his way to the HOF. And then I went to bed! Our guys are starting to win games we’ve gotten used to them losing. And Carlos is building his contract as he goes.

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  10. Kyle Gibson has been a lot like Bob Gibson this season for some reason. He started opening day for the Rangers. They scored 5 runs in the top of the first. Gibson then gave up 5 runs himself while recording one out in the bottom of the 1st. Since then he has been fantastic – in 12 starts since the opener he is 4-0 with a 1.51 ERA.
    He has not had any luck really this year other than the opener. His other 8 no decisions were as follows:
    8 innings 0 runs
    6 innings 1 run
    8 innings 3 runs
    6 innings 1 run
    7 innings 2 runs
    6 innings 1 run
    6 innings 2 runs
    6 innings 1 run

    He’s started 3 games against the Astros – 19 innings – 4 runs allowed and 3 no decisions.

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    • No doubt, he’s been excellent on the season. And he was all over the edges of the plate. But he got help last night too. I give our guys some credit though. Even while anemic, they coaxed coaxed 7 hits and a walk from him and only stuck out three times against him. Despite that wide strike zone they got Hoot II up to 100 pitches and out of the game after 6 innings.

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  11. The Rangers continued the strategy they used to sweep the Astros last time: keep the ball at or below the knees and let the umpire guess wrong enough times that the Astros would be confused. All night long the Rangers pitchers would follow that and mix in pitches that were high and inside or high and outside. The pitches that were strikes were always at the knees or below.
    The exceptions were the two home run balls, which were in the middle section of the zone and not the lower.
    I expect Lyles to keep the ball down, because the umps today can’t find the ball down there. They guess.
    Throughout the first 8 innings, the Astros pounded the ball into the ground.

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    • I’m waiting for the pitcher who is going to publicly blame the Astros for all the pitchers who are cheating with the sticky stuff.
      It will go something like this: When I found out they were cheating, I was forced to find something to even up the odds. Every pitcher had to do it because of the Astros sign stealing. Don’t blame me! Blame them. How am I supposed to pitch without it? I don’t know how to pitch without it! I need a withdrawal program to weed me off of this stuff! and it needs to be covered in our insurance program! Pay us in the off-season to detox from this!

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    • I totally agree with you AC45 and OP. What I find fascinating is that he is straight out saying that he has been cheating up to now. So, without the threat of enforcement in the offseason he can’t play it straight now?
      I have not seen any difference in the way the Astros pitchers have been throwing since this enforcement dialog hit a couple weeks ago. Those that pitch good are still pitching good, those that don’t….. well you get it.

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      • I didn’t notice any difference but Blummer kept referring to LMJ using Fastball and Change and skipping his curve and slider. But LMJ has used strange pitch sequences for a while.

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  12. I don’t feel sorry for Glasnow, but boy, MLB sure has no idea how to run MLB.

    On an unrelated note, when is SI or ESPN or some other national publication going to wonder aloud how the Astros have become such a good hitting club?

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    • Dave – they will talk about our good hitting club along side a comment from a Yankee fan blogger that says all our hitters have chips in their brains that are sparked from someone in central command with a video screen stationed in Boca Raton. Or they will accuse them of being cyborgs…..

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  13. Some thoughts after last night’s game…
    – I was really proud of Odorizzi last night. He has only pitched in relief three times in his career and those were back in 2013. A lot of times you take these guys out of their normal routine and they struggle, but he did a great job holding the rope on this game
    – Carlos’ home run reminded me of a game my son Adam took me to back in 2016 against Tampa Bay. We had given up the lead in the 9th and were down one and Carlos whacked one to right field to tie the game. In that case the game ended the very next batter as Gattis battled and battled and then just launched one against the glass in left field. In that case Gattis was tearing his own non-buzzer jersey off as he headed to home plate
    – My son pointed out that if Bregman had not touched that ball that he tipped in the 10th, the Rangers might not have scored as that was really scorched to left.
    – I was thinking that I jinxed the team with my “offense” post as they really struggled, but they ended up scoring above their average…
    – Altuve is really a funny hitter. In the 10th he takes a terrible swing on the first pitch looking overmatched on a ball way out of the zone. Then he is totally in control as he puts a beautiful swing on a ball up in the zone – where he loves it.
    – I was glad to see Dusty send Castro up to bat for Maldonado – he was lucky to walk as a couple of those balls could have been strikes, but he is such a better hitter against the rightys
    – Would Dusty have used Tucker last night on his night off? We will never find out
    – And a nice happy birthday gift for Dusty on his 72nd birthday

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I wrecked my Maserati worrying about how I can’t pitch without sticky stuff.
    My girlfriend left me because my curve won’t break without sticky stuff.
    My kids no longer worship me because I can’t use sticky stuff. They want Bob Gibson baseball cards and I can’t afford that because I’m gonna be sent to AAA to learn how to pitch again!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. If you want to know how disconnected MLB is from real baseball consider this: The Rockies are rated as the best defensive team in baseball by a wide margin according to Fangraphs. Seriously, the second place team isn’t close. Yet, the Rockies have committed the seventh most errors in baseball and are 21st in fielding percentage.
    The Astros are tied for 1st in fielding percentage and 1st in fewest errors. But the Astros are #8 in Fangraph’s defensive stats.
    Apparently, how well you field has nothing to do with whether or not you are a good fielding team.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s really interesting. I went to fangraphs and see the default display for advanced, team defensive stats is sorted on DEF – Defensive Runs Above Average. We can’t see home/away splits for their fielders, but Fangraphs states in the glossary that this is already factored into the stat. I don’t really trust it, but then again, they basiscally admit defensive metrics are volatile and trust them at your own peril. Regardless, I’d suggest another stat feeds into this. The Rockies are ranked dead last in team pitching for K/9.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll say their metrics are volatile. All season long Kyle Tucker was rated as the best defensive RFer in MLB. Suddenly, about two weeks ago his metric put him slightly above average and way down on the rankings defensively. It occurred right about the time the voting started for the ASG.
        I sent them an e-mail asking them to explain the change in his defesnive stats overnight and they didn’t answer.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can remember old timer’s talking about some defensive whiz “He makes errors on balls others don’t even get to.” (Sort of old age Jonathan Villar). Maybe that is factored into the results.

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  16. My wife commented during last night’s game that Correa’s left forearm was not shiny like it has been all year. I told her that her comment was tacky

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    • Dan, I had not turned the game on yet. But yes, even 1oldpro got his 315 foot shot from Myles! But alas, we’ve also lost two starters, potentially for an extended period of time.

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    • YES. He crushed it.

      But they all count. Just has to get to the first row. Good for him and good for El Machete and Chas Mc. But I guess it is no longer unusual for McCormick.

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  17. How stupid is Dusty Baker? Brings in Raley to and immediately gives up a 2 run single. A lefty – righty match up? Zack could have gotten him out IMO.

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    • Raley simply frightens me. It’s a great job. Come in, give up a 2 run hit and the other guy gets charged for the damage. And his ERA is still 6 something. I don’t see how we keep him on the roster all season. But I think it also means that Greinke is gassed. The six man rotation might benefit him too.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Another “V” for the good guys. They must be drinking the “Power Juice” because they are heating up with the home runs. Next series with the White Sox will say a lot.

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  19. I was watching Chaz McCormick’s home runs again this morning and noticed that he has a pretty big upper cut swing. Not that it’s bad but it seems he looks to be an all or nothing type player. There’s a lot of talent there and maybe the hitting coach can help him to flatten out the swing to drive the ball more often. He definitely has the potential to become an elite hitter.
    The big surprise is the emergence of Myles Straw. He’s now hitting .257 and climbing the ladder. Imagine if he can hit around .270. And now we have replaced one lead off home run hitter with another. Who would have thought that?
    My question relates to players like Taylor Jones, Robel Garcia, Abraham Toro, and anybody I missed. Are they there because we don’t want to bring up anybody else who will have their “clock” started who might be a better option or is there another reason?
    You’ve got to be pleased at the aspect of having Garcia, Odorizzi, and Javier as go to options in the bull pen. It makes me a lot more confident in our ability to hold leads than in the previous months. What a situation to have!
    Personally, I don’t see any gaping holes in or team at this time as we are plugging the leaky bull pen. I would hate to see us trade either Straw or Chaz at this point because I think that they are coming into their own. And we still have Aledmys Diaz in reserve when he returns.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good stuff there Z.
      McCormick has a lot of power and he is making better contact with more playing time. He was batting .154 in early May but since May 12th he is slashing .270 BA/ .338 OBP/ .973 OPS which we will take and not look back.
      Straw is good enough with our normal lineup especially with him hitting better lately. I hope we are not missing Tucker and Bregman long, but this is what all teams are facing these days with a ton of uncertainty with protocol time off and soft tissue issues.

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    • Z, my watching of Corpus and Sugar Land is limited and I am discounting Fayetteville. But I have not seen a single player, pitcher, nor catcher that and I watched and said “Why are he still in the minors?” Now that doesn’t mean there are no future MLBers, but right now, they are pretty much where they need to be and to PLAY every day to help develop.

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  20. Bregman is going to be out for awhile. Far longer than a 10 day vacation. Abraham Toro is going to get another shot. In 2019 and 2021 he’s crushed AAA pitching in short stints. An OPS of 1.078 and 1.112! I just don’t want to believe that he’s going to be eternally hopeless in MLB. Just hit .250 with a respectable OBP and a .750 OPS. That would be fine right now. Good luck Honest Abe.

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    • He looked like he was playing injured after coming back from the hamstring injury last year. Putting him on the sidelines wouldn’t concern me as much if Diaz weren’t already out with the broken hand. Obviously his health is an issue between him, the trainers, and perhaps management, but as a fan I don’t want to see him anywhere the field until he’s actually healthy, so hopefully Toro gets hot and gives them all some breathing room.

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  21. Kind of interesting stat – the 43-27 A’s have played 43 games at home and only 27 on the road. But before you think they are taking advantage of playing more games at home, they are better on the road. 25-18 (58%) at home and 18-9 (67%) away. Go figure.

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