The Astros passed the halfway mark of the season on Thursday night as they played their 82nd game in Cleveland against the Indians. Halfway is always a fun time to lean back and do the kind of math that even us old folks can do in our heads – doubling up what has been done to date to project the future.
Oh, and the Astros were on pace for 96 wins at the halfway mark. By the way, this is rarely very accurate, but enjoyable just the same.
So, what are some fun facts related to projecting forward from the mid-point of the season? Note – this is based on stats through the 81st game, Wednesday.
- The Astros already have five players with double digits in home runs – Jose Altuve (17), Carlos Correa (15), Kyle Tucker (13), Yordan Alvarez (13) and Yuli Gurriel (10). Three others are on pace for double digits – Chas McCormick (9), the injured Alex Bregman (7) and Martin Maldonado. Michael Brantley, who hit his 5th in the 82nd game, would seem to have a decent shot to join the eight others.
- With the Astros leading the world in runs scored, you would think they would have someone just tearing it up in the RBI department. However, Yuli is leading the team on a pace for 104 RBIs, which is a good pace but not threatening Hack Wilson’s record. On the other hand, the Astros do have an imposing five players on pace for 85 or more RBIs – Gurriel (52), Alvarez (50 in only 68 games), Correa (49), Tucker (47) and Altuve (43, not counting his grand salami Thursday night). It is quite amazing that two of their better hitters are not in there as Bregman will be stuck at 34 RBIs until he hopefully returns in August and Brantley somehow only has 30 RBIs with his .340 BA and .875 OPS.
- On the runs scored side, they have been led by two stars on pace for over 115 runs scored – Altuve (59) and Correa (58). Alvarez (49), Tucker (44) and Gurriel (41) are all headed for between 80 and 100 runs scored, while Brantley (39) and Bregman (37) are falling just short of that pace.
- With all the talk about days off, which positional players are on pace for the most games? Well, headed into the season, if you said it would be Correa and Myles Straw tied with 76, you might have won some serious scratch in Vegas.
- As far as wins for pitchers, no one is outrunning the 16 win pace for Zack Greinke, who ironically has the second-highest ERA behind Jake Odorizzi in the rotation. If you double them up – three of Zack’s teammates will join him with double-digit wins – Luis Garcia (6), Jose Urquidy (6) and Lance McCullers (5), though Urquidy is currently on the IL. In good shape is Framber Valdez, who got his fifth win in the 82nd game and, with missing the first couple months of the season, has those five wins in only seven starts.
- Concerning innings pitched, no one will come close to workhorse Greinke, who has 103.2 innings at the halfway mark. Only Luis Garcia is likely to get to 150 innings with his 80 innings so far unless they decide to lighten his workload along the way. McCullers is headed for 130 innings, Framber only has 38 IPs, but he is likely to get over 100 innings if he stays healthy. No telling where Urquidy (77 innings but injured) and Cristian Javier (67 innings moved to the bullpen) will end up on the season.
- Ryan Pressly’s 12 saves at the halfway point are not very impressive through no fault of his own. But the fact that he only has one blown save so far on the season is impressive. If he goes 12 of 13 on remaining save opportunities this season, everyone should be happy.
- And of the relievers, who has the most appearances? Ryne Stanek and his 4.59 ERA has been in 35 games so far this season. Right behind him is Brooks Raley, with 34 appearances on the season. Considering Raley has a 5.97 ERA, that is plain scary.
In the end, the most important number for this team is the one in the win column, and if they end up at 96 wins, they will be in the playoffs and likely will be atop their division.