Stats will drive you crazy

It is probably a good idea to skip looking too deeply at stats this early season unless your HMO has really good coverage on developing ulcers. (I don’t even know if HMOs are a “thang” anymore – they were all the rage a decade or two ago). The point is that looking deeply at stats this early in the season, when a good or bad day can play 52 pickup with your perception of any one player, is like panning for fool’s gold.

  • You can get grumpy looking at the Astros’ leading all of baseball with a minuscule 1.69 ERA and gripe that they somehow lost two games so far.
  • Or you can worry yourself silly thinking that the team will fall off the planet if the pitching heads back to the norm since the hitters are putting up (for lack of a better word) sucky numbers. A slash of .218 BA/ .294 OBP/ .694 OPS will not win the day for long.
  • You can go to Vegas and bet the farm that Kyle Tucker will not finish the season with a .130 BA, nor will Yordan Alvarez (.143 BA), Yuli Gurriel (.167 BA), Jose Altuve (.150 BA), Aledmys Diaz (.150 BA) or the No-dust catching twins of Martin Maldonado (.000 BA) and Jason Castro (.000 BA). Maybe leave the last two out of any combo bet you make. But, as our current president says on his most coherent days, “C’mon, man”.
  • The flip side is the huge slashes of the center field duo of Jose Siri ( .455 BA, .538 OBP/ 1.357 OPS ) and Chas McCormick (.438 BA/ .438 OBP/ 1.000 OPS) will not look like that a month from now when the hot cool off.
  • Ryne Stanek won’t have a 9.00 ERA. Luis Garcia, Rafael Montero, Pedro Baez, Hector Neris, Blake Taylor and Cristian Javier will likely depart from 0.00 ERAs.
  • The Astros scored 5.3 runs/ game in 2022. They have scored 4 runs/game so far this season, but if you take out their 13 run anomaly in Game 2 – they have only scored 2.2 runs per game in the other 5 games. There is an awfully good chance that they will surge back towards 5 runs per game once the core of their lineup warms up.
  • You can be sure that Alex Bregman won’t drive in more runs than the number of games he will start (7 RBIs in 5 starts so far). You can be sure that Yuli Gurriel will not end the season with 0 runs and 0 RBIs as he sits right now.

But the base point is don’t get deep into any stat other than W-L at this point in time. If somebody is batting .400 or .100 on June 1, get excited or depressed.

74 comments on “Stats will drive you crazy

  1. Here’s a pretty interesting stat. In his career, Jackie Robinson struck out 291 times and took 756 walks. And chances are there were a couple of umps along the way that did not give him a close pitch. Too bad he did not get to play until he was 28.

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  2. I’m with you. Its cyclical. It’s about who can string together the most good weeks – McCormick and Siri are not this good – but they wouldn’t be here at all if they weren’t capable of this in short spurts.

    I have zero worry about Alvarez, Bregman and Tucker. I have moderate concern about Gurriel and Altuve – one age, the other I haven’t been thrilled with some of his at bats.

    The pitching staff has been incredible. They are why we are 4-2. We could EASILY be 1-5 right now if they were sitting at an even acceptable 3.50 staff ERA. I do think a 1.69 ERA is obviously an aberration and will change soon, but I don’t think the Astros having the lowest ERA in the league is. I think this staff is just this good, and it will be even better when McCullers is back in place of Odorizzi.

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    • Steven, even though Jose let me down in the 10th on Wednesday, I’ve got zero worry about him. As far as Yuli goes, who knows what to expect, but he showed up in great shape. I’m inclined to believe he’ll again be solid. On the pitching end, I like the way Hector Nevis carries himself. That’s his name and I’m sticking with it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just saw Elton John having breakfast at a local Dennys. After he paid his tab and everyone else’s in the joint, and declared that this really was his last concert tour, I went over to the table where he’d been sitting to see if I could cop a souvenier. Sure enough, I found a napkin on the table, on which the bespectacled one had scribbled these words in his own hand!

    Hey, fans, grab a local paper;
    the spotlight’s on the boxscore and our heroes’ latest caper;
    they’re winnin’ more than losin’ because our pitchin’s SOUND
    and the dudes roamin’ center’s are showin’ Dusty that they both can POUND!

    Say, Dave and Becky, have you seen them yet
    unis all pimped out for ‘Space Town’?
    Ph-Ph-Ph-Phooey on the Stats!
    Oh, aren’t they weirdly wonderful?
    That Pena’s a sleepin’ dog!
    They’ve got talent galore; they’re really gonna soar …
    read all about it in our latest blaw-ogggg!
    Ph-Ph-Ph-Phooey on the stats!
    We’ve got Jose and Bregs;
    Yuli and Mike’s bad legs;
    Just wait, Yordan wil hit the mezzaNEEN!
    Ph-Ph-Ph-Phooey on the stats!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Gon’ be a battle in Seattle – Chernobyl at T-Mobile!
    Call coroners for the Moroners – ‘dem ‘C.H.A.Z’ boyz goin’ down!

    [Translation: Please go out and win this last series of the road trip, Astros!]

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  5. Without attempting to provide evidence, I feel like it’s common for the Astros to come out of spring training with a lot of cold bats. I recall a few guys going on early season tears, like Tyler White as a rookie or Altuve in 2015, but mostly it seemed like April is a forgettable month. As Steven predicts, a few hot streaks will even things out. I’m actually a little concerned by Framber. He’s got enough experience that they should be able to figure things out in the bullpen before he gets to the mound. The lack of control in his last WS start as well as the other night in Arizona just make me wonder what you’re going to get from game to game. Is his between start preparation bad?

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    • Yeah – I think you are right that the team’s bats tend to come out colder in the cold weather and add in the fact that they had so few spring training at bats….

      Framber seemed to hit a perfect storm of bad factors in his last start. A non-aggressive opponent, an inability to get ahead in the count and an ump, who once Framber missed a few was not giving him the corner calls on anything.

      Hopefully it was a one off. We shall see.

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  6. I know we are not relying on stats right now -but man, have you looked at the Astros’ lifetime BAs vs. tonight’s starter for the M’s, Mario Gonzalez?

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  7. Dan, it was just a week ago that your question about the team being impacted by Covid seems to be answered, although in a vague way. This is the 4th trip to the injured list for Yordan due to health and safety protocols. I’m pro vaccine, no doubt, so I have a hard time understanding why a guy who travels regularly would impact his job continually, and those around him, if of course he has chosen not to be vaccinated. And if he is vaccinated, then he’s remarkably unlucky.

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    • It’s a tough one Dave B – though truthfully a ton of folks who have been vaccinated have gotten the latest strains, including folks like Nancy Pelosi who you know have been boostered up.
      I am surprised this happened so soon

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  8. That was a team effort. We got the bad version of Abreu. We got the regular version of Baez. Does he make it all the way to May 1? And Jake, he took a slumping club out of the game early. He got 13 outs in exchange for eight hits, 3 walks and an a HBP.

    The Jake versus Javier issue is rather a conundrum. Javier might be the best swing man in baseball. Yeah, he walks too many guys, but on his career, he’s also given up less than 6 hits per 9. How many guys do that? And the career WHIP of of 1.098 puts him in any rotation except for ours.

    Problem is that we don’t have another guy that does what Cristian does for us. On the other hand, why let Odorizzi screw up a game from the start? We can’t leave him in that role until Lance gets back. I’d rather have Javier in the rotation now and find a way to replace him as long man. I think it gives us a better chance to win.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Last night our heroes redefined the phrase ‘bad baseball’. The only positive things I can say about that game are: 1. it is over; and 2. I didn’t watch a miserable second of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I feel like Dirty Harry asking the guy who doesn’t know how many bullets are left in his (Harry’s) gun if he feels lucky today. Would I rather have Jake screwing up the beginning of games or Jake coming in as long reliever and screwing up the middle of games? My assumption is he will be here unless they decide to swallow his salary.
    They will probably limp along until they feel more certain of McCullers’ status, unless a Hunter Brown or Peter Solomon or Jonathan Bermudez forces a call-up.

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  11. It’s good to have Justin Verlander around again. How do we keep the guy from throwing 200 innings before post season play? It’s good to have Hector Nevis around especially with our closer on the shelf. Fingers crossed that his knee won’t need repair. Javier will likely see more late inning work at least for the time being. Jake is safe in the rotation. Pena sure is a pleasure to watch. He looks at home on a baseball field. Darn quick from home to third standing up last night. When our regular guys start hitting, we’ll be pretty good.

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  12. We saw the ridiculous Friday night; we saw the sublime last night.
    What will we see today? There is simply no telling with this team.

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  13. CLASSICS 4 REDUX: WHAT ONCE WAS ‘SPOOKY’ IS NOW JUST PLAIN ‘FREAKY’

    Dennis Yost apparently stayed up late Friday night. After drinking way too much expensive T-Mobile stadium beer and suffering through historically bad baseball. In a drunken melancholy state he sent out this little ditty to the world via email:

    On those cool early spring evenins’
    when fools gather to take in an Astro ball-game;
    you all know just what happens when the pitcher for the bad guys is a no-name;
    Our bats become mush; we make him look like Cy Young;
    and our defense? It comes … UNDONE!
    April is so frustratin’ with a freaky little team like ours!

    Tuck can’t get in rhythm, even Brantley can’t pick up the fellow’s slider;
    & both Pena and Altuve
    play like their Gatorade was spiked with Mike’s Hard Cider;
    All of our pitchers threw BP for the M’s;
    and in the field their guys pulled of web-gems
    April’s so frustratin’ with a freaky little team like ours!

    FREAKY-Y-Y-Y.

    At the bottom of the email drunk Dennis also typed: ‘Everyday with you, ‘Stros, is stranger than the day before’. And where, oh where are the ‘Traces’ of the talent we know you all have?

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Jeremy Pena leads Carlos Correa in almost all categories, offensively and defensively, thru the first week of the season.
    Most folks will say “Yes, it’s early”, to which I say ” Carlos Correa has earned 50 times more money in the first week of the season than Jeremy Pena”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1OP, Carlos is getting 216,000 a game. 8 games in, that would be 1.7 plus million to date. That’s already a million more than Pena will be getting for the season. That’s remarkable. I’m rooting for Jeremy.

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      • I did the math. Pena is getting around $4,300 per game if my memory is correct. That’s how I came up with the “50 times as much”.

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  15. I had to watch last night’s game on rerun as I was busy singing at the Easter Vigil – 3 hours of welcoming new folks into the flock.
    – Can’t say enough about Jeremy Pena. He is not trying to replace Correa, he’s just staying within himself and he has checked all the boxes. Has hit well for average, shows good pop in his bat and is very solid defensively. Totally startled me in making third base on that tripple, so easily. He has great wheels.
    – Raise your hands if you thought Verlander would get through 8 innings so easily in his second start. 3 hits, no walks, no runs, 8 Ks
    – Maldy got off the schneid with a timely blast to left field.
    – Yes, nice to have Neris there to close with Pressly out.
    – Would be nice to have the Astros take the road trip finale today and come home 6-3 instead of 5-4

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Not sure if I’ve ever seen four DP’s in the first four innings of a game before. The kid can’t throw strikes and we’re still swinging first pitch. Hopefully Jose keeps it where it is and and Brash hits his pitch count.

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    • Before we hit the road on this 9 game trip, I thought 5 and 4 would be acceptable. But after starting 4 and 1, I expected a better trip. 69 pitches, 34 strikes for Brash. The oddest no hitter through 5 innings that I’ve ever seen. No discipline by our hitters. A couple of bad bounces in the big inning and then a bunch of hard hit two out runs. Leaves a bad taste.

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  17. As long as they continue to not field their best lineup, I will find something better to do with my time.
    Their minor league teams are all in last place with horrible records so there isn’t much to hope for there either.
    I will concentrate on watching golf and the following the nfl draft online, because I can enjoy all the draft talk and not watch any NFL stuff on TV and keep my blood pressure in check.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed. I had a choice of watching the RBC Golf Tourney or the Astros game. Since I was a guest at an-other’s house I opted to watch golf but checked in on the game. After it was 2-0 I decided to stay with golf. After 6-0 I decided to not even attempt to watch the game. Nobody knows what the future holds but we better be drafting and grooming a 1st baseman for 2023, and a 2nd and 3rd baseman for 2025.
      I’m just really disappointed in Altuve’s approach to the plate. He is not Altuve of 2017 anymore and needs to modify his approach to hitting or he’ll never get any where near his previous BA.
      However, I’m also PO’d about the stupid fans still booing him, Bregman, Gurriel, and others over “IT”. Good thing I’m not there or my mouth would probably overload my brain and the results would be down right ugly.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You’re both right. Pena gets 3 hits one night and is out of the lineup the next. I’ve defended him because his ex-players talk about how Dusty is great at keeping the entire clubhouse engaged and happy, but it certainly feels like pulling a hot bat is going to hurt the on-field results. I would have given Bregman the day off instead. Altuve actually had a couple good at-bats yesterday – taking what looked more like a tennis swing to line a single to CF for our first hit in the 6th and striking out on 9 pitches in the 8th on a slider down and away. I’m more concerned with guys like Gurriel getting beat on fastballs right now. Castro looked beat each at-bat, but you could at least tell he was trying.

        The only argument I’ll make in our team’s favor for yesterday’s game is that the home plate umpire was giving their pitchers a wide zone that a high school ump would be embarrassed by. Tucker showed amazing restraint … he was the victim of so many bad called strikes … but you could see the frustration wore him down and he was just going to swing at whatever pitch came his way on his final groundout.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. If I remember right, back in 2019 the Astros scored a run more per game in those games Yordan played vs. those he did not play. That was one heck of a moon shot by the big man and I hope it unlocks this offense.

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  19. Maybe we should extend Yordan right now and wrap him in bubble wrap when he is away from the field. Man did he jump start the offense tonight!!

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  20. Any word on Altuve’s injury – I didn’t like how he looked when he sat down on the field – he looked like someone who knew he was hurt bad.

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  21. Hamstring issue for Jose. Day to day. But he’ll likely go on the ten day. I did not know this until now, but Goodrum has a lifetime BA of .310, OBP of .374 and an .830 OPS against lefties. The Niko acquisition makes more sense to me now.

    Those Montero and Nevis guys, is it possible that they both got a dose of leftover Strom dust when they showed up? Hector has a batch of saves on his resume, but Rafael does not have much on his to account for a 2.7 million contract. Regardless, so far so good. They are needed right now.

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    • Montero is one of those WHO? guys. Just like signing Morton back in the day, it made no sense when you check the stats. Montero is 31 and had a very unimpressive 8 year career. He has a Negative WAR. But has pitched well for two seasons for the Astros. Somebody saw something in him. But it has been for very few innings.

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  22. So far so good with Jeremy Pena. He seems to play like a veteran rather than a rookie. It’s these young guys at the bottom of the order keeping us winning right now with a couple of exceptions. Kudos to the pitching staff for a good outing. I did notice that Correa guy is leading the Twins in one stat. 14K’s with a BA of .176. As I was saying awhile back, Carlos who?
    If the 1st 10 games are an indication of things to come, it won’t be a cake walk to the Division Championship but “YIE”.
    Great safety squeeze by Maldy last night and who ever called that play. It was very “UnAstro like” from previous times in that position.

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      • I thought Becky would have been here last night celebrating the introduction of small ball to the Astro offerings. Even Siri tried to lay one down, but he should not bother until he learns how to bunt. In the meantime, Pena continues to show that he has worked at every aspect of the game.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. The Astros were a lot of fun last night.
    – I was impressed with Pena’s bunt and also impressed with his bases loaded walk – he got behind in the count, but did not panic, laid off the balls, spoiled a good strike and gave them the lead with that walk.
    – Man we needed Yordan back being Yordan
    – Hamstring for Altuve is a big bother. Those just seem to never heal
    – Maldy put down the perfect safety squeeze and Tucker was quick to take advantage. Even though Tucker is struggling, he finally had the umps calling balls as balls and drew a couple key walks
    – Bregman is hitting the ball well
    – Siri is taking hold on me. He has a lot of talent and has calmed down a little on his dramatics
    – Brantley still the professional hitter
    – Garcia had a little trouble but overall pitched well
    – Montero and Neris did a great job on the back end

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    • As Siri sees how the other Astros go about their business, including a kid like Pena, it’s got to rub off on him to a degree anyway. There’s no need to lose his enthusiasm though. That’s part of his own game. He’s bringing life to a club with guys that tend to act a bit robotic at times.

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  24. Last night, we saw the ‘Dr. Jekyl’ version of the Astros on full display. So, after such a great game, will Dusty follow the pattern and bench Jekyl, giving Hyde another spot start?

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  25. Two change-ups thrown by former Astro farmhand Sandoval – two Astro hitters go down swinging. Looks like another Mr. Hyde kind of night.

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  26. Tonight we throw our worst starter (by far), Jake Odorizzi, against the Angels’ best starter, and one of the best in the AL West, Shohei Ohtani.

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! It is going to be a long season.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Another stinker. Way too early to call it a trend, but the thought crosses my mind that clubs might be figuring out a way to turn Framber, Garcia and Urquidy into #5 starters. Can they be tipping pitches? These guys sure are erratic early. This goes back to the playoffs last year. At the same time, it’s much easier when your offense puts some runs up early.

    Nice to see Chas get a start against a lefty. I would have given Brantley his rest last night. His OPS against lefties is .619, a continuing theme from recent years. Would have preferred to see Siri’s righthanded bat out there.

    The electronic umpire behind home plate can’t come too soon. Not many umps can or want to call a clean game these days. What’s worse is that I read a link across the way last night that shows the Astros are getting the most bad calls on balls and strikes in MLB. Can that really be coincidental?

    Plenty of questions marks with our club right now besides the injury issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Well here is your glass half full thought – at least we aren’t Texas Rangers fans, right?

    I expect less of this from Framber as the season goes. I think he will be fine next start. LeavesABadOdor-izzi with a 4th inning exit and putting us out of that game is a good possibility. If Jake is going to finish with an ERA in the mid 4’s he is going to have to have a lot of 5 inning 1-2 run outings to balance the bad starts, maybe tonight will be one of those. Hate losing rubber games to competitive division rivals but they will happen.

    I have had my rumblings about his player usage at this point. He gave Altuve a day off early and the injury still happened. If anything, with a shortened spring training, the hitters need to be hitting. They need the PT for the rhythm. Sitting a player after they go 2-4 interrupts that rhythm, even if sitting him was a “part of the plan.” Load management is for July/August/September, not April.

    I get it. Dusty is cool. Players like him. He can talk to the media. He is a steady hand. He has never won a world series despite having some really good teams for a reason. He is no LaRussa/Pinella when it comes to managing a game, but he is a great manager of a team.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steven, I don’t think Dusty rests his guys more than the average MLB manager. That’s only based on my very unofficial glimpses of other clubs and games played by individual players. But I’m not always pleased with when he rests guys, seemingly ignoring individual match ups regularly.

      But we’re 6 and 5. We were 6 and 5 after 11 games last year. Of course in April of 2021 we lost some guys early to Covid protocol. This year, it’s injuries. McCullers, Altuve, Pressly, Jake. Then Yuli and Yordan for other reasons.. We finished April of 2021 at 14 and 12 then followed up with a 15 and 12 record in May. I suspect we’ll be looking at similar numbers in the early part of 2022.

      It’s a lot more fun watching a team that’s playing well. But this slow start is giving 1OP more time to focus on the NFL draft. So there’s that.

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