When it comes to playing the AL West this season, the Astros aren’t suffering from many miscues.
Thanks to a 6-and-1 road trip through Oakland and Seattle, the Astros find themselves in an enviable position as the month of July approaches.
If I can be completely transparent for a moment, I wasn’t expecting the Astros to enter the final week of June with a 52-25 record. In case you haven’t noticed, this is also the best record in baseball, which is another shock to my system.
No, I was instead expecting a respectable record of 45 or so wins. I think we can all agree that this was a reasonable expectation. And that was with a healthy starting rotation. My, oh, my, I was proven wrong. Sure, I’m not pleased about the state rotation, but the rest of the team has been better than advertised going into the season. Especially the bullpen.
The Astros starting rotation has been the ire of the town lately. Between the injuries of the regulars and short outings from the replacements, the rotation has been less than optimal.
And while there hasn’t been too much damage in terms of runs allowed, the short outings in particular are rather worriesome. For example, Francis Martes’ start yesterday left something to be desired.
2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO, 37 game score, 63 pitches-34 strikes
The talented right-hander noticeably struggled with his command more times than not. You can look no further than the four walks allowed in only two innings of work. Combined that with 63 pitches thrown, and it is easy to see why Martes was given the early hook. His 37 game score reflects as much.
This meant the bullpen would be relied upon heavily once again. And the worriesome trend continues.
Carlos Correa was the only Astros batter to collect more than one hit yesterday. There is nothing particularly noteworthy about this statement, though. After all, the Astros won by the score of 8-to-2.
But Correa has been one of the driving forces behind the Astros lineup since mid-month. In fact, he has produced an impressive 168 wRC+ since June 12th. Since then, Correa has also posted an .240 ISO, .350 BABIP and equivalent strikeout and walk rate of 13.6%.
Correa has been a man on a mission as of late in the Astros lineup.
I alluded to this earlier, but there has to be a growing concern about the Astros bullpen usage. After all, they had to go seven innings when Martes couldn’t pitch past the second inning.
I will concede, though, that the Astros bullpen allowed no runs, earned or unearned, during those seven innings. Sooner or later, the innings will start showing on the arms of Chris Devenski, Will Harris, Michael Feliz and Luke Gregerson. Thank goodness that Ken Giles didn’t have to pitch.
Consider this if you need any persuasion: Astros starters went 3.2, 5, and 2 innings in Seattle. If it wasn’t for the off day on Monday, this would’ve been a major concern for the bullpen in any game.
**Statistics courtesy of MLB.com and Fangraphs**