Sometimes this writer’s brain gets clogged up with too much “stuff” and needs a day to dislodge all the stuff floating around his brain.
So here goes….
- The last time the Astros swept a seven-game homestand was when they took out the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals back in August 1987. Back then, they outscored the opponents 43-13, while this time around, they squeezed out the opponents 28-8. The 1987 team had come off the run to the NLCS against the Mets and had fallen a bit, ending at 76-86. Ironically, that team scored many more runs in their homestand sweep than the current team. That team was 11th out of 12 NL teams in runs scored that season. And that team played in the Astrodome, where offenses went to die.
- Where would this bullpen be without Cristian Javier, Hector Neris and, in a considerable surprise Rafael Montero? Neris has appeared 15 times and has only given up 1 run in 14 innings of work. He did not allow his one inherited runner to score and has only allowed 9 base runners in those 14 innings, 7 hits, 1 walk and 1 hit by pitch. Montero has appeared 12 times and gave up one run on a solo home run in 12.1 innings. He did not allow his two inherited runners to score and has allowed 11 base runners with eight hits and 3 walks. Javier has started two games but has not given up any runs in his four relief appearances in 11.1 innings. He inherited no runners and has only allowed 9 baserunners with 5 hits, 2 walks and 2 HBPs. That is a lot of value for a team that has not been scoring many runs.
- No one has benefitted more from the calendar flip to May than Jose Altuve. He was a bad .167 BA/ .268 OBP/ .518 OPS in April with 2 runs scored, 1 HR and 3 RBIs. In May, which corresponds to the seven-game winning streak, he has been on fire, hitting .409 BA/ .519 OBP/ 1.337 OPS with 7 runs scored, 3 HRs and 3 RBIs. Maybe worrying about re-pulling his hamstring has forced him to stay a little more solidly on the ground when hitting?
- Then there is the Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Jake Odorizzi, who may need to change his name to Jekyll Odorizzi. He was awful starting the season and looked like the answer to the question, who will Cristian Javier replace in the rotation? In his last 3 starts, he has pitched 17.1 innings with a 0.51 ERA and a 0.577 WHIP. This is like Justin Verlander not only talked to him but gave him a blood transfusion. During this run, Jake has had an unsustainable 0.116 BAbip (batting average on balls in play). But even if that trends towards normal, the team certainly would take an ERA in the 3 range from Jake.
- This has to be the worst significant time for a single position in memory. “This” is, of course, the catcher’s position for the Astros, where Martin Maldonado’s horrible 0.85 BA looks relatively better than Jason Castro’s bottom feeder 0.69 BA. They have a cumulative seven hits on the season in 29 games, which means, on average, they go about 4 games between hits. That is pretty insane.
- However….. The weirdness of early season stats. Yuli Gurriel has 27 more ABs than Maldonado, is hitting more than .100 pts higher and has the exact same number of RBIs.
- And…..Michael Brantley has 38 more plate appearances than Maldonado and is hitting almost .200 points higher, and has one less walk.
Well, my brain feels pretty empty now. Now it’s your turn….