After a red-hot May that pushed the Astros into the lead in the AL West, they began June stumbling and bumbling a bit as they went 4-5 in the first 9 games.
But they cranked things up after that and came flying down the stretch with their 7-2 New York – New York run at the end of the month. After going 16-9, they had stretched a 5-1/2 game lead to 11-1/2 games (with help from division mates stuck in reverse).
There were quite a few heroes for the team in June, and we will be honoring them here.
Here is a quick chart of the Astros’ pitchers in June.
|Name||Gm||W||L||Svs||IP||ERA||WHIP||HR||Ks/9 IP||BAA||OBPA||OPSA||IR/ IS|
Note – I added the IR (Inherited runners) / IS (Inherited runners who scored) stat for the relievers.
Starting Pitcher of the Month. Justin Verlander – The starters were very good in June, especially in the “New York” stretch of the month. But Verlander was outstanding as he led the starters in wins, ERA, WHIP, BA against, OBP against, and OPS against. If you could drop his odd start against the White Sox (9 hits, 4 ER, 3.2 IP), his numbers would be even more insane.
Runner-up. Framber Valdez – Framber has been solid all year and would be the #1 among many staff members. He had another very good month in June, and teams had to hate facing Framber and JV in a row.
Last Month. Winner – (Tie) Verlander/Valdez / Runner-up – Odorizzi
Relief Pitcher of the Month. Bryan Abreu. There has been much discussion about why the Astros have not used Abreu a bit more than they have and in higher leverage situations. He was outstanding in June, not allowing a run and having excellent slash against numbers as one of the few relievers who kept his walks down for the month.
Runner-up. Ryne Stanek – Stanek had a 0.00 ERA for the second month in a row. He ends up a tad behind Abreu due to giving up the inherited run from Ryan Pressly when the Yankees made their big comeback on them a week ago.
Last Month. Winner – Rafael Montero / Runner-up – Ryne Stanek
Special Recognition Award. This has to be Cristian Javier, who continues to pitch great and, of course, gets special recognition with his seven-inning contribution to the Astros’ no-hitter against the Yankees.
Now on the offensive side, there were some good numbers and some very offensive numbers.
Positional Player of the Month. Yordan Alvarez – Except for that collision with Jeremy Pena, this was a month for the ages for Yordan as he is likely also the AL player of the month. Being on base more than half the time takes us back to the Barry Bonds big head era. If Alvarez does not start in the All Star game, something is wrong.
Runner-up. Kyle Tucker – His .281 batting average (tempered by an unlucky .257 BAbip) was not at the top of the team, but every other stat for him was outstanding. He continued to drive in runs at a great rate and did a fine job walking more than he struck out this month.
Last Month. Winner – Jose Altuve/ Runner-up – Jeremy Pena
Biggest Surprise (Positive). Seth Martinez made that one bad pitch to Aaron Judge (and who hasn’t), but he has been very effective in almost all his appearances.
Runner-up. Mauricio Dubon – With the injuries rattling up and down the lineup, the Astros are blessed with two guys (Dubon and Aledmys Diaz) who can plug and play at many different positions effectively on the defensive end. Dubon had a solid offensive month off the bench. He has just a little power, but he knows what he is doing.
Last Month. Winner – Rafael Montero / Runner-up – Jake Odorizzi
Biggest Disappointment. Tie – Chas McCormick/Jose Siri – It’s pretty amazing the Astros did as well as they did in the month with so many dark holes at the bottom of the lineup. Obviously, Chas outperformed Siri a little, but we expected him to outperform Siri. They just were very ineffective, combining for just 6 runs and 4 RBIs on the month.
Last Month. Yuli Gurriel
Crazy Stats…..There are a number of them:
- J.J. Matijevic gets the one-trick pony award as he only had 2 hits on the month, but they were both big solo home runs.
- Hector Neris had the weird downbeat stat award because he held opponents to a very good .189 BA but posted a very bad 7.20 ERA on the month. Too many walks.
- In this free-swinging baseball world, when is the last time you saw a stat line like Mauricio Dubon, where he walked 5 times and only struck out once?
- Phil Maton had a pretty below-average month except for one stat. His 5.00 ERA, 1.556 WHIP and .857 OPS were bad. But that 16 strikeouts / 9 innings stat was pretty sweet.
- This does lead us to the Astros’ Immaculate Inning record as they became the first team to have two pitchers strike out three with 9 pitches in the same game behind Maton and Luis Garcia.
As usual, it is your turn to comment. Any awards you disagree with? Any new awards you want to hand out?