Houston Astros: Life without spark plug George Springer


It was two series ago when the Houston Astros were playing the Kansas City Royals, that George Springer was hit in the wrist by a pitch. During the game, Springer fought to try to stay in the game after the injury, but A.J. Hinch did not let him. In my opinion, Springer might have further injured his hand staying in as long as he did. After being hit by the pitch, he had to make a hard slide into the third base bag in which his fractured wrist slammed into the dirt. So how have the Astros done so far since his injury, let’s take a look?

In the seven games since Springer has been officially out, the Astros have a 2-5 record, losing the Red Sox series and Indians series. In both series, the Astros were able to have a great offensive game to win the first game while scoring 21 total runs in the first games of both series. However, in the five losses, they only scored eight runs. Are these games a great example of what the Astros are without Springer or have they just faced superb pitching?

George Springer is my favorite player because I like his whole game and his charisma, he brings something to the team that can’t be judged by Sabermetrics. While Springer may be on the bench rooting for his teammate, his leadership on the field can’t be duplicated from the bench. The effort he gives in the field and hustle on the bases is what seems to be lacking right now. The biggest thing the Astros are struggling with right now is getting on base and hitting for the slugging percentage that Springer does.

However, would Springer have been able to make solid contact against Clay Buchholz, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, or Cody Anderson? All four of those pitchers seemed to be on top of their game pitching against an Astros team trying to find their identity without Springer.

Let’s look at some stats from the past seven games for the Astros without George Springer.

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While the pitching has not been great, especially for the bullpen, I am focusing solely on the offense in this post. When you look at the batting average of .257 for the seven games, your first thought would be that’s not bad, especially for a team with a .243 batting average for the year so far. The reason for the inflated batting average is the two wins that were blowouts in which they batted .379 in those games. However, during the five games that the Astros lost, they batted .191 which is very close to Chris Carter territory.

Something else to notice during the five losses, the Astros had only five out of 31 hits go for extra bases. However, during the two wins, the Astros had nine of 33 hits go for extra bases. For a team that relies on the extra-base hits, of course, they will lose when they are not consistently hitting for extra-bases.

For the seven games, the Astros had a slugging percentage of .370, which is far less than the .424 for the year. During the two wins, the Astros slugged .550 while only slugging .270 during the five losses. The bottom line is that while their batting average was higher during these seven games, most of those hits were singles. For a team that has 279 extra-base hits in the season, the 14 extra-base hits are not enough to win.

The Red Sox series was a little more winnable than the Indians series because of the quality of the pitchers the Astros faced. The Red Sox are dead last in the AL with a 4.45 ERA while the Indians are in the middle of the pack with a 3.88 ERA for the season. Should the Astros make the playoffs, they could face teams with as good of pitching as the Indians displayed. Maybe the offense is going through a mini-slump, maybe the Astros faced a few great pitchers, or maybe they are missing George Springer more than they think.

It doesn’t get and easier against the Tampa Bay Rays, who have dominated the Astros in the past. But then the Astros will get four days off during the All-Star week, which is a welcomed site at the moment. Maybe the Astros have played over their heads for a while, and exhaustion has hit them hard. The Rays series is a must win series because the surging Angels are coming to push the Astros out of first place.

The Astros need Jed Lowrie to come back soon but have to find a place for him to play.

Next: Astros Minors Report: Placing a value on Mark Appel

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