October 21, 2017

Astros Show Some Signs of Improvement in August

September 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Before finishing the month of August with a disappointing five game losing streak, the Astros had shown some signs of being competitive.  Though the team’s record in the month was only 8-21, the Astros led in 22 of their 29 games.  That they only won 7 of these games pinpoints the team’s most glaring of their many weaknesses, the bullpen.

The numbers below illustrate just how bad the Astros have been this season:

Batting
Category

Astros

MLB Average

Astros Rank

Runs per game

3.87

4.19

23rd

Batting average

.239

.254

27th

On-Base Pct.

.299

.318

29th

Slugging Pct

.382

.398

23rd

OB + Slugging

.681

.716

29th

Strikeouts

1,273

30th

Pitching
Runs per game

5.28

4.19

30th

ERA

4.86

3.88

30th

Starters’ ERA

4.62

4.02

28th

Relievers’ ERA

5.28

3.59

30th

The Astros are clearly below the major league average in important hitting and pitching categories with the biggest deficiency being in relief pitching.  Former GM, Gerry Hunsicker once said that the bullpen is the easiest part of a club to build.  If that is true, GM Jeff Luhnow should have a rebuilt bullpen in place for 2014.  Hunsicker also once said that he expected Morgan Ensberg and Jason Lane to achieve the same level of success in the major leagues as Lance Berkman.  We know how that turned out.

Despite the poor overall performance in August there were some bright spots.  Jason Castro continued his breakout year in August, batting .338 with 5 home runs and an OPS of 1.067, and won his second AL Player of the Week award this year.  Three young starting pitchers, acquired in trades by former GM, Ed Wade, joined the starting rotation and performed well.  Brett Oberholtzer was 2-1 with an ERA of 3.24, Jared Cosart was 0-1 with an ERA of 2.10 in 5 starts, and Paul Clemens was 0-0 with an ERA of 1.50 in his only start.

The Houston minor league teams continued to play well.  All four full-season clubs at the AAA, AA and Class A levels are in the playoffs starting after Labor Day.  Two of the short-season clubs are in first place headed for the playoffs.

On a personal note, we made a weekend trip to Houston in August and I saw my first two major league games this season.  Surprisingly, the Astros scored two decisive wins over Toronto, 12-5 and 6-2 in the games I saw.  What are the odds of going 2-0 with a home record of 21-47?  It was the 49th straight year that I have seen major league games in Houston.

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