Entering the season, the Astros’ pitching staff was suppose to be the strength of this team and halfway through the 2011 season that has not been the case. Bud Norris and Wandy Rodriguez have had their moments this season of looking like quality pitchers but Brett Myers has not looked like the ace he did last year and J.A. Happ has not developed like some would hope. There has been one thing they have all struggled with and that is the home run ball.
The Astros currently lead the major leagues for most home runs given up at 91 home runs through 78 games. A little less than a quarter of those home runs were given up by Brett Myers, who has given up 20 home runs in 16 games. Last year, he gave up only 20 home runs through the whole season. The four starters that started the season have all given up double digit home runs with Wandy at 11 and Norris and Happ at 10. Not to mention Aneury Rodriguez, who has bounced between the bullpen and the fifth starter role, has nine in eight games started.
Even Jordan Lyles, who has looked pretty good in his few starts has given up four home runs in five games. So why have the Astros been giving up so many home run balls? Some may say it is because they play at Minute Maid Park, which is generally considered a hitter’s ballpark but that is not the case. The Houston Chronicle’s Steve Campbell took a look at the numbers and came to the conclusion that MMP is fair to both hitters and pitchers.
Looking at the numbers, the Astros’ pitchers have given up about half of their home runs on the road compared to home (Myers (8), Wandy (6), Happ and Norris (4)). So the question still remains why the pitchers are giving up so many home runs? Are they tipping pitches? I find it hard to believe that an entire staff would start tipping pitches at the same time. Whatever it may be, I think this issue has to be priority number one for Doug Brocail as new pitching coach in trying to figure out a way to keep the ball in the park.