We all knew the Astros were due for a slump. After all, most good teams usually have a handful of those every year.
In their past ten games, the Astros have posted a 5-and-5 record. That’s .500 baseball, which is neither good nor bad. It’s right in the middle. If this is their worst slump of the season, I’ll gladly take it.
Regardless, Monday was a rough day of sorts for the Astros. For starters, Lance McCullers is the latest Houston starter on the disabled list. He joins three other Astros starters, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton and Collin McHugh, on the DL. It’s simply not a good time to be an Astros starter. Yes, I realized I have overused the word “starter”.
Then the Rangers’ ace, Yu Darvish, held the potent Astros offense at bay all evening long yesterday. Notice how I didn’t use the term “starter”? Point for me.
At least the first couple rounds of the MLB Draft took place so that’s something positive unless you highly value Dan O’Dowd’s negative view on the Astros’ draft. You probably shouldn’t.
In case you haven’t noticed, Darvish is quite good at throwing a baseball. The Astros offense simply did not have a solution for him.
Two hits and one run was the end result against the Rangers. Darvish allowed only one hit, three walks and the lone run. Alex Bregman drove in the only run in the fifth inning on a single. This boosted the Astros win expectancy from 25.3% to 36.8%. Unfortunately for Houston, this would be the their highest win expectancy for the rest of the game.
Like I stated earlier, Bregman was the only Astros batter to drive in a run. In turn, he was also one of two Astros batters to post a positive WPA (Win Probability Added). Marwin Gonzalez contributed a 0.02 WPA as he had two of the team’s four walks.
Here comes the most depressing news: Bregman and Gonzalez were the only Astros, including pitchers, to post a positive WPA.
This is is what happens during a game when just two players on your team post a positive WPA.
52 game score
I feel bad for Joe Musgrove. Not only did he have to go against Darvish in his first game back from the DL, he was expected to pick up a tired bullpen. I’m sorry, but you have to cut the guy a break when you consider the circumstances. The fact that he surrendered just two runs and posted a 52 game score in his first start back was a slight positive. Admittedly, he did not pitch more than 4.2 innings, which only exacerbated the bullpen issue.
In the long-term, the return of Musgrove is a welcomed sign. Hopefully Keuchel and McCullers will return soon. You also like to think that Morton and McHugh will be factors this summer. Houston will just have to weather the storm, and hope a healthy rotation for the stretch run is on the other side.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and MLB.com**