Why Did the Astros Fall Off a Little?
Jun 30, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros right fielder George Springer (4) during the game against the Kansas City Royals at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The loss of George Springer. End of story…NOT SO FAST!!! In the middle 54 games, the Astros went 26-28. They were 13-14 with George Springer in the lineup and 13-14 without him. So, as much of a spark as Springer provides for the Astros, he wasn’t the key to the Astros minor slump. This is going to require some deeper investigation.
Here’s what happened in the last 54 games. Jake Marisnick didn’t hit nearly as well. The Astros’ center fielder hit .379 and .202 in April and May. That number dropped down to .143 in June and only back up to .204 in July. That’s a pretty big difference.
Next, Luis Valbuena and Chris Carter never really got their bats going, creating more issues in a Springer-less July lineup. Carter had a .109 July batting average (Ouch!) and Valbuena compiled a measly .213 mark along with a complete goose egg in the home run column.
In the bullpen, Luke Gregerson was only 8 for 11 in save situations during June and July compared to his 13 saves in 14 opportunities during April and May. Will Harris was no longer untouchable, as his batting average against rose from .103 in May to .250 in July. He was still really good, but not dominant. Chad Qualls also blew a couple games before heading to the DL and has pitched better since then.
Finally, the starting rotation went through a lot of mixing and matching in June and July. The addition of Scott Kazmir is very recent but moves were being made way before then. The Astros decided to give up on Brett Oberholtzer after he couldn’t keep his cool against the Yankees, Collin McHugh struggled for a few weeks before the All Star Break, and Lance McCullers had some expected rookie hiccups. Dallas Keuchel was the rock, starting in the All Star Game and consistently quieting opponents’ bats.
Next: Major Changes were made Between Now and Then