The Astros are one of the best teams in baseball. The Astros have a number of flaws that drive the locals crazy.
Yuli Gurriel has never gotten rolling like he did in his 2021 batting championship season. With Michael Brantley gone for the season, Aledmys Diaz out with his leg injury, and Chas McCormick working his way back from a finger injury, the combination of Mauricio Dubon and Jake Meyers (sent down after I typed these words) are getting more ABs than their stats would warrant. The Astros closer, Ryan Pressly is injured again. The other bullpen pieces seem to be hanging on by a thread, even with three-run leads. Justin Verlander may miss some time with a leg injury. Cristian Javier did not look thrilled to be in the bullpen after outpitching some of his rotation mates. Dusty Baker’s lineups and days off choices make the knowledgeable Astro fan look as thrilled as Javier. And very importantly, Yordan Alvarez has something wrong with one hand or the other and has had his worst month as an Astro.
There may be a complaint or three missing from that list, but you get a general idea. The Astros are somehow winning, despite being a flawed and incomplete team.
Well, welcome to the real world.
Let’s look at the other big dog in the American League, the New York Yankees, who are seven games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.
- The Yanks are 4 games behind the Astros. About two months ago, on June 29, they were eight games ahead of the Astros but have been on a dive since then.
- They’ve got Chad Green and Michael King’s big arms out for the season.
- They’ve got big contracts on the 60-day IL like Luis Severino and Zack Britton
- Aroldis Chapman had not been pitching very well and then goes on the IL due to an infection from a tattoo on his leg.
- Matt Carpenter was one of their best hitters (not named Judge) but went down with an injury from which he might or might not return this season
- Josh Donaldson is slashing a below-average .223 BA/ .312 OBP/ .697 OPS, while Aaron Hicks is slashing an anemic .216 BA/.337 OBP /.638 OPS
- And along with Chapman sucking, Jonathan Loaisiga is sporting a 5.52 ERA out of the bullpen
- Giancarlo Stanton is hitting for poor average with good power, but actually, he is not hitting at all for the moment as he is hurt again.
- Oh, and the Yanks are 4-14 in their last 18 games
- Depending on your source, they are paying about $260 MM this year for the current team.
- And they are the Yanks – so there’s that
And why not check out the biggest dog out there, the outstanding 89-38 Los Angeles Dodgers? Unlike the Yankees, they are tearing it up, going 21-5 so far in August. But if fans want to complain….
- Walker Buehler was 4th in the Cy Young race in 2021. He just had Tommy John surgery and will likely not come back until 2024
- Due to injuries, Clayton Kershaw has only made 15 starts this season
- They are paying $16 MM for a closer, Craig Kimbrel, with a blah 4.14 ERA. That ERA number is 10th among closers with 20 or more saves.
- Third baseman Max Muncy has an ugly slash of .189 BA/ .323 OBP/ .695 OPS.
- Left fielder Chris Taylor has a slightly better slash of .227 BA/ .307 OBP/ .702 OPS.
- Center fielder Cody Bellinger has a very disappointing slash of .208 BA/ .265 OBP/ .664 OPS.
- Reliever Phil Bickford has been in 51 games but has a 5.14 ERA that makes you beg for Phil Maton.
- And brilliant Tony Goselin (16-1 with a 2.10 ERA) just got put on the injured list.
- I would have included pitcher Dustin May, who was great before being injured, but he just returned looking as JV good as ever after Tommy John surgery.
When a team that is on pace for 113 wins has so many things to gripe about, it is fairly clear that this is the norm in the world.
So, should we complain as much as we do?