One thing you can say about the Houston Astros’ offense. They truly work as a team. Unfortunately, that means that along with hitting so well for most of the season and having the best offense in the AL and at times the MLB, it also means that when they choose to stink it up, they do that in lockstep with each other, also.
There were inklings of this a few weeks ago when they lost a couple games on the road to the Tigers and came home to be swept by the Orioles, scoring between 1 and 3 runs in 5 of those 6 games. They did a bit better job scoring after that but have hit the skids in the last 7 games spanning the All Star game. They had a couple spurts in there, including the miracle 6 run ninth inning against the Yanks and scoring 7 runs in the first game against the White Sox. But in the other 5 games, all losses, they scored 0 runs 3 times and 1 run twice.
It does not take long to find some culprits.
Jose Altuve – While Jose has had several heroic moments this season, including the walk-off against the Yanks, he has fallen into a “yank” swingfest in the last month plus. In the last 34 games, he has been slashing a 2020-like .226 BA/ .329 OBP/ .847 OPS. That included 12 HRs and 29 RBIs, but many at bats that did not result in the lead-off man getting on base or doing anything constructive. In the last two weeks, that has been an even worse .184 BA/ .205 OBP/.574 OPS. Jose gets in these funks where he tries to be George Springer, and the team needs him to go back to being Jose Altuve as he was earlier in the season.
Carlos Correa – After playing brilliantly, Carlos started slumping and then missed time due to the health protocol and has been hitting badly (though amazing in the field) since his return. In his last 13 games he has been slashing .114 BA/ .231 OBP/ .435 OPS. That is a bad bat in the middle of the lineup, but Carlos seems to always struggle when coming off the IL over the years.
Yordan Alvarez – Yordan is truly facing the first real slump of a young career. In his last 8 games, he is in a 2 for 30 crash and burn slump, where he is striking out half the time (15 Ks) with no walks. His slash has been awful in that time – .067 BA/ .067 OBP/ .134 OPS. Yikes. Please come back, Yordan.
Yuli Gurriel – Yuli’s numbers for the season are still top-notch, but he has been struggling lately. In his last 16 games, he is slashing a below-average .200 BA/ .279 OBP/ .513 OPS. He was bound to cool off some time, but, unfortunately, it occurred in conjunction with his compadres.
Michael Brantley – Uncle Mike never looks like he is slumping with the prettiest swing on the team, but after peaking out with a .356 BA, he has been hurting too. In the last 16 games he is slashing a poor (for him) .222 BA/ .269 OBP/ .618 OPS. Having watched Brantley for the last 2-1/2 years – this too will pass…
Alex Bregman – Bregman was in an 18 game slump (.174 BA/ .272 OBP/ .572 OPS) when he went on the IL more than a month ago. The Astros did a good job continuing to hit when he was first out, but they sure could use a bit of vintage Alex back in the lineup at some point.
Now Kyle Tucker (who did miss some time with illness) and Myles Straw have been two positive notes during this drop-off, but they need help from the veterans (plus Alvarez) to get this offense rolling again.
So, who breaks out of the funk first, or do they go on an assault as a team?