The Astros offensive woes may not be as bad as we think
By Eric Huysman
I know it’s frustrating Astros fans, but the offense is not the worst in the league.
The Houston Astros will have one of the top offenses in the game. This is something that we heard a lot this offseason. Heck, I might have written an article or two about it as well. This Astros offense should be hitting, but now we are 4-4, mostly because the hitters are struggling to score. It might surprise you to know that the Astros were sixth in the AL in batting average at a .238 clip via ESPN. Yes, that’s pathetic, but there is nowhere to go but up from here.
That was before yesterday’s game where Houston hitters only managed six hits as they were shutout by James Paxton and the Mariners. After last night’s game, they went to seventh with a .232 batting average via ESPN. The Stros’ batting averages are starting to creep up, but they are not getting the big hits.
Power wise, they are tied with the Rangers for the most homers in the AL with 11. Ironically, the Rangers batting average (.210) and total bases (85) are way lower than the Astros. The Astros 103 total bases so far tie us for third in the AL. You would think that the team was dead last in OBP (.306) and SLG (.380), instead, they are in the middle of the pack. Stats from ESPN.
A look back at the 2015 Astros.
Dustin Nguyen of What the Heck Bobby brought up a good point after yesterday’s game. The Astros have scored 21 runs in eight games, which seems terrible, could explain why the Astros are 4-4 at this point. Dustin pointed out that the 2015 Astros team that earned the nickname “Crush City” only scored 17 runs in the first eight games. We remember that team getting off to a hot start, but instead they were 3-5 that year. That team won 86 games to make it to the playoffs that year.
They have faced a lot of left-handed starting pitchers early in the year. They face another in Ariel Miranda tonight. He started the last game of the Mariners series. Against left-handed starters (5 games) this season, the Astros have a slash line of .226/ .290/ .333/ .623 with four homers and 41 strikeouts. Versus right-handed hitters, the Astros have a slash line of .245/ .333/ .468/ .801 with seven homers and 16 strikeouts.
The stretch of left-handed pitchers will not last, but the Stros offense has some room to grow. On the Josh Innes show earlier, George Springer joined the show. Springer believes that this offense will break out soon and that we will be okay. “It’s only been eight games.” Manager A.J. Hinch said today, via Brian McTaggart, that “our offense won’t be a problem.”
Next: Will the Real Astros Offense Please Stand Up?
The front office built this team to Win-now and not Lose-now, so give the hitters time. Yesterday’s second start versus Paxton just put the offensive struggles on blast. Springer, Alex Bregman, and Jose Altuve will not be batting .219/ .179/ .188 respectively for long. Give this team time to settle in. You know the Mariners are praying for a few more days of struggles. If not, I know what next week’s Talking Stros will focus on.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and ESPN***