December 11, 2017

A New Beginning for Astros in April

May 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

While the Astros 9-14 record in April was a disappointment, it was better than the last 2 Aprils and there were some encouraging signs.  The Astros outscored their opposition104-100 which should have equated to a record of about 12-11.

It is still too soon to determine if young players like Jose Altuve, J.D.Martinez, Jordan Schafer, Jed Lowrie and Jason Castro will have long, productive careers but there were encouraging signs in April.  Altuve was among the League leaders in batting average (.360) andMartinezwas among the leaders in RBIs (19) and walks (20).  Lowrie has had several key hits and has played errorless ball at shortstop.  Schafer reached base in all 23 games and is among the league leaders in stolen bases with 8.  Castro has apparently completely recovered from the knee injury that sidelined him last year.

The Astros improved in most major categories of performance in April over their figures for the 2010 season.

April 2012

2011 Season

Batting Average

.257

.258

On-base Percentage

.330

.331

Slugging Average

.376

.374

Runs per Game

4.52

3.80

Pitcher’s ERA

4.09

4.51

Unfortunately, these numbers didn’t translate into as many wins as might be expected but if they keep playing at this level, the wins should come.

The pitching did not quite keep up with the hitting and remains a concern despite the improved ERA.  Wandy Rodriguez was outstanding in April with an ERA of 1.72 in five starts and was the only Astro starter to pick up 2 wins.  Bud Norris and J.A. Happ had some good games but they were inconsistent.  The other 2 starters, Lucas Harrell and Kyle Weiland, are inexperienced and have yet to show that they can win in the major leagues.  Jordan Lyles (4-0 at Triple-A) came up for a start and pitched well.

Brett Myers made a successful conversion to a closer and picked up 5 saves in 5 opportunities with an ERA of 1.35. The rest of the bullpen has been hit and miss but came through in the last game in April when Manager, Brad Mills, used seven different pitchers to face seven consecutive batters which has been reported as a major league record. Fortunately, Lowrie hit a tie-breaking home run in the eighth inning to give the Astros a 6-5 win. The Astros would have had a problem if the game had gone into extra innings.

Another improvement from last year is the performance ofHouston’s top two minor league teams which have been big losers the last few years. Triple-A Oklahoma City was 16-9 in April and Double-A Corpus Christi was 12-12. Most of the young players the Astros obtained in recent trades are playing for these clubs which bodes well for the future.

 

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