July was a very different, yet successful month for the Astros.
- In April they outscored the opposition by 31 runs (131-100) but ended up barely above .500 at 14-12.
- May they outscored the opposition by 26 runs (153-127) but ended up 15-12.
- June they really kicked it up, outscoring the opposition by 70 runs (170-100) and ended up a strong 19-9.
- July they only outscored the opposition by 24 runs (123-99) but were much better in close games as they put up an equally strong 16-8 record for the month.
As you will see, the Astros did this without really having dominating performances by anybody.
Here is a quick chart of the Astros’ pitchers in July….
|Lance McCullers Jr./td>||3||1||0||30.1||3.86||1.319||.231||.318||.677|
How are the Chipalatta Awards given out with no really outstanding stats for the month? Correctly of course.
Starting Pitcher of the Month. Zack Greinke – This was a tough pick. Garcia had the best looking numbers of the starters but only clocked about ½ the innings. McCullers and Valdez had more wins, but their stats were down a step. Greinke overall had solid numbers with ERA and WHIP. One bothersome stat is the .834 OPS against. Not good and tied to him giving up too many bombs.
Runner-up. Lance McCullers – He had the three wins and the ERA under 4. He had 30 innings and seemed to be healthy, which is maybe more important than any other stats for Lance.
Last Month – Starting Pitcher of the Month – Framber Valdez / Runner up – Jake Odorizzi
Relief Pitcher of the Month. Ryan Pressly – There are arguments for others, but he obviously was continuing to be successful in the highest leverage situations. He did finally give up a few runs this month, after a scoreless June, but none that really mattered and went 6 for 6 in save situations.
Runner-up. Ryne Stanek? Cristian Javier? OK – let’s give it to Stanek as he affected more games. His numbers are better than they seemed to be – of course, that is because he gave up runs in a couple late July games. He was scoreless in 9 of 12 games and allowed earned runs in only 2 of 12 games. He also stranded all three runners he inherited during the month.
Last Month – Relief Pitcher of the Month – Pressly / Runner-up – Blake Taylor
Special Recognition Award. Andre Scrubb – He, unfortunately, ended up on the IL, but he had three nice appearances in July, where he threw three scoreless innings, stranding two runners he inherited, gave up one hit and importantly, walked no one.
Positional Player of the Month. Jose Altuve – He only hit .260 on the month, but was terrifically impactful with a team-leading 21 runs scored, 8 HRs and 22 RBIs. What would he have had with his normal .330 BA? Well, at least his old school Altuve batting average….
Runner-up. Kyle Tucker – Tucker has been on a steady arc upward after hitting in bad luck early in the season. Tucker was the second-best run producer on the month and would have had even better numbers if he had not missed some games with a medical issue.
Last Month – Positional Player of the Month – Carlos Correa / Runner-up – Michael Brantley
Special Recognition Award (Part 2). Aledmys Diaz – His 6 runs, 3 HRs and 8 RBIs in 19 ABs would be the same as 30 runs, 15 HRs and 40 RBIs in 95 ABs (less than Altuve had for the month). OK – small sample size, but it came at a prime time to help the team.
Biggest Surprise (Positive). Brandon Bielak – Gee whiz, last months biggest surprise (Abraham Toro) and runner-up (Myles Straw) both play elsewhere now. Anyways, a little tough picking a surprise at this point of the season and Bielak was just sent down to Sugar Land with the plethora of relievers, who showed up in trades this weekend, but he’s the pick. His 2.35 ERA and 0.783 WHIP are a surprise because it is a lot better than he had shown before. And of course, this is a small sample size deal…..
Runner-up. This spot for rent – Nobody else really surprising me here.
Last Month – Biggest Surprise – Abraham Toro / Runner-up – Myles Straw
Biggest Disappointment. Carlos Correa – After killing the ball in June, he seemed to trip up with missing time around the All Star break due to a medical issue. He basically had the worst slash (.178 BA/ .256 OBP/ .557 OPS) of the regulars, though he seemed to be warming up at the end of the month.
Runner-up. Yordan Alvarez – It probably shows how much is expected of this young man, when he gets this spot after putting up 10 runs/ 6 HRs and 17 RBIs in July. But he’s a much better hitter than the man who slashed only .213 BA/ .294 OBP/ .761 OPS with 25 Ks.
Last Month – Most Disappointing – Ryne Stanek / Runners-up– Nobody
The “How is he getting at bats” Award. Robel Garcia – Don’t think you can put the word slash in with a .118 BA/ .211 OBP/ .358 OPS line unless it is describing slashing your career short. Considering he had only 2 ABs less than Chas McCormick in July – it’s not making much sense.
A Bad Stat….. After it seemed like half the starting lineup could have been “voted” the top every day in June, July was quite a fall-off in batting average, on-base percentage and OPS. One thing that really sticks out is their walk to strikeout ratio. In July, they only had 75 walks against 194 strikeouts and that is not a good way to run the offense. This is an area they need to improve down the stretch.
As usual, it is your turn to comment. Any awards you disagree with? Any you want to award?