After two very good months of May (21-8) and June (16-9), the Astros continued their surge with another solid month with a 19-9 July. Thanks to going 6-1 against the second-place Seattle Mariners during the month, the team finished the month with a 12-game lead in the AL West, despite the 14-game winning streak the M’s had in July.
But for the purpose of this post, let’s look at how the individuals performed during the month and who earned the ChipalattAwards.
Here is a quick chart of the Astros’ pitchers in July.
|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 – This month was reminiscent of JV’s first month with the Astros – September 2017, where he was 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in an extra start vs. this month. He had more pedestrian numbers (.222 BA / 1.013 WHIP) than he usually puts up but pitched tremendously tough with runners on base to prevent runs scoring – only allowing 3 runs on the month.
Runner-up. Jose Urquidy – After some struggles earlier in the season, Urquidy, after changing his pitch mix, led the starters in slash allowed (.174 BA/.224 OBP/.537 OPS) and with a 0.849 WHIP. There were rumblings about him being on the trading block, but this writer is hoping this is not true.
Last Month – Winner – Verlander / Runner-up – Valdez
Relief Pitcher of the Month. Ryan Pressly – There is a tendency to want to remember what recently happened and his blown save on Saturday looms large in our memories. But outside the two hits and 1 walk he allowed in that outing, he only allowed 2 hits and 0 walks in his 8 other appearances this month. And, of course, this included most of that streak of retiring 32 hitters in a row that started in June.
Runner-up. Rafael Montero – Montero continued to pitch well in high leverage situations and has been the backup person to gather saves behind Pressly. He has been the biggest surprise in the bullpen this season.
Last Month – Winner – Bryan Abreu / Runner-up – Ryne Stanek
Now on the offensive side, there were some good numbers from surprising places on the month.
Positional Player of the Month. Yordan Alvarez – Considering he had a stint on the IL, his numbers continue to be amazing. That 1.146 OPS and .432 OBP are top shelf. If you factor him out to having as many ABs as Kyle Tucker, he could have had 27 runs, 9 HRs, and 21 RBIs on the month.
Runner-up. Aledmys Diaz – With injuries to Brantley and Alvarez opening up more at bats to the most flexible player on the team, Diaz went on a run with more consistent at bats. His hitting was critical this month, with other big bats missing and/or slumping.
Last Month – Winner – Yordan Alvarez / Runner-up – Kyle Tucker
Biggest Surprise (Positive). Martin Maldonado is still hitting an unacceptable .173 on the season, but he was leading the team in RBIs for most of the month and did his best to keep Korey Lee on the bench for the most part with Jason Castro out.
Runner-up. Chas McCormick – Maybe this should be Diaz, but it was good to see Chas get on a better roll in July, especially with Brantley out and Jake Meyers scuffling. Chas was doing a good job of hitting the other way with pop, and his 13 walks on the month is a significant change from the kid who rarely walked last season.
Last Month – Winner – Seth Martinez / Runner-up – Mauricio Dubon
Biggest Disappointment. Javier still held opponents to only a .183 BA for the month, but he gave up a whopping 7 home runs in only 25.2 innings. This led to his sub-par 4.56 ERA in July.
Runner-up – Tucker – After making his first All Star Game, Tucker went on a bit of a prolonged slump during the month. Maybe a bit of bad luck (.212 BAbip) fed into it, but he is too good a hitter to not bounce out of this.
Last Month – (Tie) Chas McCormick / Jose Siri
Stats of note …..There are a number of them:
- I don’t know about you, but the eyeball test does not have Phil Maton with a 2.53 ERA for the month, only allowing 1 of 6 inherited runners to score.
- Alex Bregman puts up a so-so .241 BA in July but leads the team with 17 RBIs. Similarly, Tucker (who I complain about above) knocked in 14 RBIs despite his .212 BA in July.
- That slash against Pressly of .118 BA/.143 OBP/ .261 OPS is amazingly low.
- The two youngsters struggling in July – Jeremy Pena and Jake Meyers, put up a couple telling numbers. Pena walked 5 times and struck out a team-leading 29 times, and Meyers walked 5 times and struck out 28 times. Something they both need to fix.
- Ryne Stanek gets the thrown into the frying pan award for the month as he inherited 10 runners (four of which scored), while Maton had the second most inherited with six.
As usual, it is your turn to comment. Any awards you disagree with? Any new ones you want to award?