The Houston Astros have won 70% of their first 40 games.
The Astros currently have the best record in baseball with 28 wins and 12 losses. Not much has gone wrong for the Astros this year as they have scored 208 runs while only allowing 150 runs to score. They have done so with a deep lineup, strong bullpen, and top three starters are pitching well.
Even when a starter gives up some runs at the start of the game, the Stros have had a knack for scoring late in games. In fact, they can score runs when they want to. They have 16 comeback wins this season and have blown out an opponent eight times. There are some holes on the roster, but they overcome adversity as a team.
If a reliever gives up the lead, then the offense mounts a comeback. On the rare occasions that the offense struggles, the pitching staff finds a way to limit the damage. Jeff Luhnow has done an excellent job of integrating young players with veteran players. The return of health of Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers has been a key to the season.
A brief look at the stats.
The team is leading the AL with a .275 batting average and only trails the Nationals in for the MLB lead. Before yesterday’s game, the Astros ranked second in the AL with a .343 OPS and is second with 55 homers. This team is built to win, and the have put the AL West competition in the rear-view mirror. The Astros won two series versus talent competition in the Rangers and Yankees, winning three out of four in both series.
According to Fangraphs, the Astros have a 93% chance of winning the AL West. According to Mike Acosta, “it’s been ten years since an AL team won 28 of their first 40 games.” While there are 122 more games to go, just making the playoffs appears not to be the only goal now. This team has its sights on going to the World Series.
Via MLB Stat of the Day, three of the last four teams to have a .700 winning percentage through 40 games won the World Series. The scary thing about this team is that our number three starter has not pitched this year. Also, the Astros have a deep farm system to replenish the active roster or be included in a trade for pieces at the deadline.
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Opposing pitcher’s nightmare!
As Geoff Blum said on the Astros broadcast last night, it is hard to see any of the guys going through extended slumps. Hinch is getting production from up and down the lineup. Even the normal defensive replacement Jake Marisnick had a double and two homers last night. Super utility Marwin Gonzalez co-leads the Astros with nine homers with George Springer. If there were a weakness in the lineup, it would be Nori Aoki, who is batting .279.
It is unrealistic to bank on the Astros winning at a .700 clip for the rest of the year, that would be 113 wins. What they are doing is building a cushion for a fall. While the offense flows up and down the lineup, this team will struggle occasionally. In 2015, the Astros led in the AL West in early May with a season-high seven games.
This is a more complete team that will only need some minor tweaks at the trade deadline. The 2015 team had some holes, and they traded away many prospects to fill those holes. Someone asked the CTH Twitter handle whether the Stros will lose another series this year? Yes, they will, but they will win far more series than they lose.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and ESPN team stats***