Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Astros offense takes another day off


You can’t win if you don’t score. And that’s what happened to the Astros today in Arlington. Again.

 

Brett Oberholtzer looked great today but the Astros offense was a no-show (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

For the second time in the last three days the Astros wasted an outstanding pitching performance in a 1-0 loss to the Texas Rangers. This time around it was Brett Oberholtzer that was victimized by a lack of offensive support. Oberholtzer needed only 89 pitches to complete seven innings of 1-run baseball. Showing outstanding command of all of his pitches, the lefty fanned a career high seven without walking a batter.

Unfortunately for Brett, a sixth inning sacrifice fly off the bat of Donnie Murphy was all the offense the Rangers needed to secure the win. Oberholtzer falls to 0-3 on the season despite some outstanding peripheral numbers.

The Astros offense entered the game ranked last in the league in several categories including batting average (.189), OBP (.261), strikeout rate (25.6%), and wRC+ (77). With only five hits and three walks on the afternoon, the Astros didn’t do much to improve upon those dismal statistics. Striking out only twice over the course of the game would seem like quite an accomplishment if it weren’t for the four double-play grounders.

Is there a silver lining? Maybe. That depends on how much you believe in BABIP. Houston also ranks last in the league with a .219 batting average on balls in play. Personally, I don’t trust that particular stat that was created to try measuring the luck factor of a team or player.

The Astros get their first off day of the season tomorrow before opening up a quick 3-game homestand against the Royals on Tuesday. Lucas Harrell is the scheduled starter for Houston. Kansas City will send rookie sensation Yordano Ventura to the mound. The 22-year old who has been known to reach triple digit speeds with his fastball held Tampa Bay to only two hits in six innings of work in his first and only start this season. This sounds like another serious challenge for the slumping Astros offense.

 

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Tags: Brett Oberholtzer Houston Astros Martin Perez

  • Ben Dieter

    I was at todays game and Olberholtzer looked great. The Rangers wasted a lot of great outings by Yu Darvish last season and I know it can be frustrating. I look forward to many good series between these two clubs in 2014!

  • Bob Gordon

    100% agree about the offense. The starting rotation, however, appears in decent shape, especially now that we’re starting to see more 7-inning starts, which should help out the bullpen a bit. Lucas Harrell appears to be the only true weak link.
    Re the lineup, I have to ask…did we really expect much better? These guys are pretty young and still developing as major-league hitters. There’s only so much minor-league preparation can do. So right now they’re still swinging at a lot of stuff outside the zone, going after sucker pitches, their big-league eyes aren’t fully developed yet. They’ll get there. The good news is that they’ve shown ample power when they DO connect; another year or two of seasoning, and this lineup could become positively scary.
    My goal for the ’14 Stros is 70 wins. That sounds lackluster, but significant improvement for a team which has lost 100+ for 3 straight seasons. And I think it’s realistic for where the team is right now on the Crane-Luhnow regime’s rebuild trajectory.

    • astrosince1975

      Thanks, Bob. Yes, the unexpected power surge is a plus but how long will it last. The overall batting average and other percentage type stats are simply atrocious. Another 100-loss season will result in more fans jumping ship and, most likely, joining the Rangers fan club. I don’t see how this team can possibly win 70 without some major improvements by the offense, the bullpen, and the 4th & 5th starters.

      • Bob Gordon

        Let’s remember how young this lineup is. No free agents, only 3 arbitration-eligible. Everyone else still pre-arb. The average Astro batter has 974 career plate appearances (remove Fowler from that calc, and drops almost to a mere 700 PAs). When not-yet-FA-eligible Dexter Fowler is by far the team’s most experienced hitter, yeah, it’s going to be an offensive struggle.

        The batting stats are going to remain poor this season; no getting around that. The keys to look for: a (very) gradual decline in strikeouts, and corresponding improvement in walks. Pitch recognition. Once they start putting the ball in play just a little bit more, a few more hits will come. They’ve already shown that when the hits *do* materialize, we can expect a nice proportion of those to be for extra bases.

        Meanwhile, I do think the pitching is good enough to get to 70 wins. Beginning to get some more quality starts from the “non-Feldmans”. Just look at this last series: yeah, lack of Astro offense was disappointing….but how do you think Ranger fans feel about THEIR lineup’s lack of offense? Pitching kept it very close, such that just a couple of Ranger pitching/fielding mistakes *could* have resulted in Houston winning or even sweeping that series.

        I’m not saying the Astros are a good team…far from it. Harrell is a concern in the rotation. Chapman is a problem in the bullpen. And even as the lineup gradually develops, no Mike Trouts are going to erupt overnight (at least, not until Springer comes up).

        But there is some improvement here…not enough to contend, but enough to believe Houston is not going to lose 100 games again.