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Astros: Strikeouts and Runners Left on Base

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Granted, the Astros are only five games into a 162 game season, but strikeouts have haunted the team early on. In the two games the Astros have won, they have only struck out seven times per game. During losses this year, the Astros have struck out 13, 16, and nine respectively. From this pattern, I have developed a formula for the Astros to win some games in 2015.

My theory is that Astros will win when they strike out seven times or less, and will lose when they strike out eight times or more. Even though it is a small sample size, my theory has held up so far. The Astros and sabermetric thinkers think you can win while striking out many times during games, but that hasn’t been the case so far in 2015.

The question you may be asking is why seven? It could just be the fact that it’s just a random number that happened to occur in all three Astro losses so far this year. But possibly, there could be more to the number seven. For the sake of fun on the day after the Astros lost 5-2 to the Rangers, every time I write seven, scream like it’s the word of the day. No one will be looking at you.

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A good batting average could be considered .300, where the hitter fails seven out of ten times to get a hit. In a regulation game, there are 27 outs. The average major leaguer probably hits around .250, which means one hit for every four at bats. Divide 27 by four, and you would get 6.75, which we will round to an even seven. This idea could be argued, but for a hitter (or team) to hit above .250, they would have to strikeout less than seven times in those 27 at-bats. The more strikeouts you have, the lower your batting average would be. So that’s the origin of the seven strikeout theory.

People who are pro carrying guns with them, use the stance of “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Being on the Astros team, does not cause the strikeouts, the players cause the strikeouts. Think of this situation as a Little League coach making out your batting order. If certain players are more likely to strikeout on the team, you won’t put them back to back in the batting order. You want to spread the strikeout-prone players throughout the order, so you are less likely to have the one-two-three type innings.

Instead, you put your best players in the middle of the lineup. In the Astros case, the middle of the batting order should be driving in runs, but instead they are striking out or popping the ball up. To be a successful team, sometimes you must have productive outs. Sacrifice bunts, sac-fly, or even the double play that scores a run. If a team strikes out more than 25% of the time, it takes away the productive outs needed to advance runners. Leaving runners on base with unproductive outs was the theme with all the strikeouts in Saturday’s game by the second through fifth hitters in the lineup.

While the Astros didn’t strike out 13 or 14 times in Saturday’s game, they still had nine strikeouts plus unproductive outs that did not advance the runners. The Astros ended up with 18 runners left on base while only scoring two runs on 11 hits and four walks. The Astros need to not only find a way to not only strikeout less, but how to make contact to at least lead to productive outs. Once the Astros can strikeout seven or fewer times in the game, they will have more success driving in the runs.

This team will turn things around, and when they do they’ll be a hard team for opponents to face. Please don’t lose interest in the Astros yet, they will figure out a way because Jeff Luhnow is at the point of no return it terms of building a team with a high amount strikeouts.

I could be totally wrong about the number seven, but until I’m proven wrong on a consistent basis, I will continue to think we will lose if we strikeout more than seven times in a game.

Next: Possible Changes to the Astros Lineup

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