The Astros ended the month of August with a 17-11 record, which was better than it seemed while fans were agonizing through the month. The team had ups and downs, but more ups and ended the month a solid first in the American League.
The team started the month 12 games up on the M’s and ended it 11-1/2 games up, so if the Astros play this season for a couple more years, they may cough up the division lead. Meanwhile, the Yankees’ free fall turned their two-game lead in the AL into a five-game deficit on August 31. Or optimistically, you could say the Astros flipped a two-game deficit into a five-game lead in the AL.
So, what made up this month on an individual basis?
Here is a quick chart of the Astros’ pitchers in August.
|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. (Tie) Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez – Justin had better base numbers but in less innings. Framber continued his unbelievable run of 22 straight starts resulting in a quality start (at least 6 innings with 3 runs allowed at the most). Framber led in wins and innings pitched Justin in ERA, WHIP and slash against. If they can get Verlander back healthy for the playoffs, this dynamic duo will be formidable.
Runner-up. Cristian Javier – Sure, he was 2-3, but in reality, he lost one game when he was shoved back into the bullpen when he had been performing superbly and two others when he went 6 innings and gave up 2 runs and went 6 innings and gave up 1 run. He was very good in August and deserved better.
Last Month. Winner – Verlander / Runner-up – Jose Urquidy
Relief Pitcher of the Month. – Bryan Abreu – That slash against .139 BA/ .225 OBP/ .419 OPS was tremendous. A perfect 0.00 ERA and a strong 0.818 WHIP are very impressive. He did have one poor outing where he allowed three inherited runners to score. But overall, he was very good and showed why he should be given some higher leverage opportunities along the way.
Runner-up. Hector Neris – Ryne Stanek was a consideration with that gaudy ERA, but so many of his other numbers showed a guy who was driving everyone crazy with how many runners he was putting on base (2.00 WHIP, anyone?). Neris was much steadier than his late-inning compadre, Rafael Montero, and earned this runner-up spot.
Last Month – Winner – Ryan Pressly / Runner-up – Rafael Montero
Now jumping onto the offensive side, it felt like the guys who had been good in July were bad in August and vice versa.
Positional Player of the Month. Alex Bregman – He was chosen the best offensive player in the American League in August, and his numbers (27 runs, 7 HRs, and 22 RBIs, along with a team-best slash (.362 BA/ .452 OBP/ 1.133 OPS) all pointed to the rejuvenated Alex as the Astros’ top offensive player.
Runner-up. Jose Altuve – Kyle Tucker was very good; Altuve was better this month. His slash of .330 BA/ .412 OBP/ .952 OPS was top-notch, and his 12 doubles and 19 runs scored were just part of what he brought to the table. And as Jose goes, the Astros go.
Last Month – Winner – Yordan Alvarez / Runner-up – Aledmys Diaz
Biggest Surprise (Positive). Chas McCormick – It was too bad about being derailed by his finger injury because he had a very solid month happening with a .268 BA/ .349 OBP/ .778 OPS slash. And Dusty was starting to use him every time a lefty was on the other side. It was a bit surprising considering how sporadically he was being used along the way.
Runner-up. Hmmmmm – Christian Vasquez? – Not too many positive surprises on the month, but Vazquez came in on a hot streak, and even though he was being eased into a catching spot as he learned the pitchers, he did a great job when he was used.
Last Month. Winner – Martin Maldonado / Runner-up – Chas McCormick
Biggest Disappointment. Yordan Alvarez – Sure, he may well be hurt. But if he is hurt, he needs to fess up and go rest for a while. Trying to play while putting up a worse BA than Mauricio Dubon, Jake Meyers, and Martin Maldonado and trailing Maldy in OPS is not good.
Runner-up – Jeremy Pena – Rafael Montero and Jake Meyers were considered here, but Pena really fell off the cliff in August. He was showing some signs of life towards the end of the month, and hopefully, it is just a normal case of a rookie hitting the wall.
Last Month – Winner – Cristian Javier / Runner-up – Kyle Tucker
Stats of note …..There are a number of them:
- Jeremy Pena and his two walks vs. 27 Ks on the month stand out (in a bad way).
- Ryne Stanek somehow allowed a .281 BA and a .410 OBP along with his 2.00 WHIP and still kept a sterling 1.13 ERA. Makes no sense.
- You have to wonder what kind of ERAs Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier would have if they could cut down on their team-leading home runs allowed. Seven of the nine runs allowed by Javier came in on the five home runs he allowed. Nine of the eleven runs allowed by Urquidy came in on the six home runs he allowed.
- Trey Mancini’s .208 BA might be a surprise to some, but after a hot start, his hitting has slowed way down. His .213 BA for balls in play shows he may be hitting in a bit of bad luck.
- Seth Martinez, a bit like Stanek, had a decent 3.00 ERA and had stranded all three runners he had inherited despite a bit dicey .292 BA and .370 OBP against. It helps that he had not given up any home runs.
As usual, it is your turn to comment. Any awards you disagree with? Any new ones you want to award?
Dusty moved Yuli out of the 2 slot and put Pena back there. The above stats provide no indication as to why either guy would hitting in that position. I’d like to see Vazquez in the middle of the action, at least on the days he’s playing. But it looks like he’ll be getting less at bats.
Well at least Peña is hitting .295 when he hits 2nd this season
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Dan, I plum missed that stat. Thanks for correcting me. Let’s leave him there and put Yuli in the 6th slot where he’s also had success this year.
One thing I did not say earlier. We’ve got a lot of good pitching.
Can’t find much to argue about, but, all your work provided me with some statistical surprises.
Amazing that a team can go 17-11 having some of those awful individual offensive performances.
The Astros just have a good TEAM.
Headed to Red River for some trout fishing and mountain watching.
You have a great week!
Overall, no arguments. However, I would like to point out that when you give someone the Hero of the Month award, that appears to jinx them the following month.
In one of the earlier games in Oakland, an A’s fan was wearing a shirt with “00” and the name “Who’s Next”. So I was box score reading and many teams have brought up new players this week. But here are the names playing for the A’s tonight: Kemp, Neuse, Machin, Bride, Murphy, Brown, Pache, Langeliers, Garcia Der, Thomas Cod, Allen, Stevenson. So I think it is safe to say, “Almost All” were next.
Garcia needed a good outing and matched Ohtani. That’s pretty good. Can’t really blame our pen. The Angels were 1-15 with runners in scoring position. We were only 2-14 though, just enough to produce our lone run way back in the 5th.
Unfortunately we walked 5 guys, and 2 of them scored.
Correction, the walks did not score.
The Astros are hoping for third time lucky here – the last two times they put Alvarez in the lineup they scratched him.
And Hunter Brown has been announced to start tomorrow’s game
I was surprised they show Yordan playing LF rather than DH today
It’s just another weird lineup. A win today means a 4-1 trip. That would be great. I don’t care who we’re playing.
When does Yuli get a day off? He’s played in more games than everyone other than Bregman and Tucker.
They will give Yuli a day off when he starts hitting. I thought you were smarter than that Dave B 🤪
Dan, I’m just confused in general these days but certainly pleased with todays outcome. I wonder how Tall Drink of Water is at first?
Peter Solomon picked up by the Pirates
Gosh Urquidy sure is pitching well. He continued where he left off in August. And the pitching all weekend was excellent. Someone pretty good in this group could be watching the post season.
Wonder why Chas sat against the lefty yesterday? I thought we had that figured out.
I’d like to see Hensley at first. He had 15 starts there in Sugarland.
Altuve has his OPS up over .900. If Yordan hits we might be ok offensively.
Vazquez keeps hitting the ball hard, but he’s not not finding holes right now.
Those Seattle guys sat out a 4 hour and 33 minute rain delay yesterday and then had to go 11 innings with Angel Hernandez behind the plate before they could finish their sweep of Cleveland. They are a scrappy, talented bunch and now own the first wild card spot in the AL.
Big night for Hunter Brown!
The lineup behind Hunter Brown against Martin Perez…
What a great first game. He earned the promotion and did not let us down.
And if you can get to 3rd, Pettis is sending you home.
I missed the first three innings. Nobody told Nevis is was an early start last night. If Brown can get swings at the curve out of the zone he’ll be tough. Only one walk, and that was after he shook Maldy off in the 5th with two outs which ended up being his 26 pitch inning. I’m sure his catcher said something to him after the game.
Excellent pitching from the pen again. Pressly can rest a bit longer.
I sure love Jose’s enthusiasm and hustle, but had he stayed at first in the 8th, we’d we’d have had two guys on with Bregman and Tucker coming up.
had he stayed at third……
I turned the game on in the seventh inning, so I only have write-ups and highlights to go off…but the highlights look really good. I hope he throws the same way next time he takes the mound. What I found interesting was that statcast classified his pitches as four-seam fastball (41), curveballs (23), changeup (3), and sliders (12). There were a couple where I assumed he was throwing a cutter. I wonder if he was just a little too amped up and threw the slider faster than intended, but they claim he averaged 93mph on those with one clocking in at 95.7. That’s absurd!
– To me the most impressive part of Hunter Brown’s game last night was his control. He was obviously amped up – especially early, but it did not show in the way it usually shows with a pitcher making their debut. He has some high powered stuff there and really impressed me (especially with his Verlander-like pitching style).
– I would really get on Altuve’s case if I thought he was out. I’m not a homer when it comes to replays and all – I have no problem watching the slo-mo and say that our guys were out or their guys were safe, if that is what happened. I don’t understand what went into their decision last night. In the best view – from the outfield side, Altuve’s hand is on the plate and the catcher’s mitt has not gotten to him yet. Pretty simple I thought.
– Nice to have the two hardest hit balls in the game belonging to Yordan. It has been awhile since that has happened. Even when he was getting hits before his latest sit -down, they were balls being slapped the other way or to center. He has started to hit them with a bit of sting and I’m guessing he will put one in the stands tonight or tomorrow.
– Was watching the Astros Bases Loaded show and really enjoyed the feature they did on David Hensley’s call-up – talking to his parents and all. His parents were out for breakfast, the waitress is approaching the table and his dad gets the word of the call up and starts screaming. (Has to do some apologizing and screaming). Then they have to figure out how to get to Atlanta from San Diego as quickly as possible. Its like 7 hours flights. They get to the park after the game starts and the Will Call is closed. They end up buying a ticket from a scalper and end up near the end of the dugout. Hensley doesn’t play until they get back to Houston. His family follows him there and three of his baseball friends from high school fly in and see him play and get his first major league hit in his second game. Very cool to see what it means to them.
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“Had to do some apologizing and explaining” – not screaming
Not exactly a well played game tonight. 1 for 10 RISP. I don’t think LeClerk hit the zone after Mancini in the 9th but Pena and Yordan heped him by swing at pitches out of the zone. 3 errors also. Framber deserved better despite his one bad inning.
An annoying game. Rare errors by both Yuli and Bregman. And Jose too. Three extra outs. Two unearned runs. That was the difference. Sure made Framber work harder.
I was a bit concerned last night hearing from Julia Morales that Yordan’s hand problems are/were not all physical. Seems he’s been thinking about it, even with no discomfort, as he goes to the plate. I keep looking for a grimace but never see one.
Can we please send Yuli on vacation? I know he will be our guy at first base throughout the post season. For better or worse we are stuck with him as long as Dusty Baker makes out the card. August was his worst month of the year and September is so far worse than August. So let’s give him a break. Why has he played the third most games on the team?
As long as Dusty is making out the lineup card you’ll probably see Yuli at 1st even if he’s hitting .000.
As long as Dusty is making out the lineup card you’ll probably see Yuli at 1st even if he’s hitting .000.
One of the sloppier games the Astros have played all year. Amazing it ended up only one run margin with the poor fielding and the poor offense. One of the less quality of Framber’s 23 straight quality starts, but who knows what he would have done if his fielding friends had picked him up a bit.
I was going “oh Lord” when Phil Maton came on in Framber’s relief in the 7th. If Phil lets in the inherited runners, Framber’s streak would have been over. But it wasn’t.
Five stolen bases? Haven’t done that in a while I bet.
Hope they toss this one behind them and get back on the winning horse.
J.J. Matijevic. What happens to him?
Whatever offense our team gets usually comes against the opposing team’s starter. When the other team’s bullpen comes in, our offense just quits scoring. Here are the slash-lines of our guys in innings 7-9:
Alvarez – .283/.374/.940
A. Diaz – .277/.307/.729
Pena – .261/.308/.704
Vazquez – .261/.292/.553
Tucker – .260/.345/.818
With the exception of the last five, these numbers are acceptable; but though the guys at the top of the list get on with some frequency, no one seems to be able to drive them on.
This tendency to quit after the 6th inning does not bode well for the playoffs.
Maybe with all the mind numbing “changes” happening in sports we can convince them to make playoff games 6 innings long.
I was watching UH vs UTSA football game on the weekend and apparently after one OT you have to go for 2 pt conversion and after that it is just single play 2 pt conversion dueling back and forth. Pretty goofy. Like putting the runner on 2nd base to start innings.
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Good stats Mr. Bill. Enlightening. I do tend to focus more on OPS than any other single stat. Bottom line though is that we’ve got a whole lot of not so good 7-9 ones. You know, just after the deadline when we picked up Boom Boom Mancini, I thought maybe he might be back next year. But the Henry Mancini version has not done much and is slow and is obviously not a gold glove in the field. Great guy, but we need to be more athletic and talented in 2023.
So who is gone this winter?
Vazquez (I’d rather have him than Maldy)
Dubon (I sure hope)
Yuli (unless he’s a bench guy and he’s not versatile enough)
Yeah, I do think we’ll see a significantly different team next year.
Agree on Vazquez over Maldy. What would it take to keep him. But maldy is a favorite of many of the staff. Mancini, Dubon, Matejevic; all gone to other pastures. Hopefully we’ll have Diaz as our utility guy. Yuli’s ship has sailed too and I’m not sold on Chaz as some are. We need a CF who can play and hit at least .260 or better. Who’s the guy we just called up recently? Doesn’t he play 1st? And we need to buy out some options on the pitching staff and make another run at Tucker. How much does he want? As Ringo Star sings, “It Don’t Come Easy”.