If the Astros offense cools off by scoring just five runs, then I feel optimistic about their chances the rest of the way.
If I have to compare the Astros‘ offense to, say, a breakfast item, then I choose the “Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit” from Whataburger. After all, there is never a bad time for the “Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit”.
The same applies to the team’s offense. Especially when the starting rotation hardly goes beyond the sixth inning nowadays. In short, it is never a bad time for the Astros to score runs. They will likely need them more times than not. This isn’t the 2005 Astros pitching staff we are talking about here.
Well, except yesterday. You should thank Mike Fiers for that welcomed development.
The last time the Astros had a starter pitch at least seven innings was June 16th, 2017. Their opponent on this day was the Red Sox. Fiers started the game on this day and he picked up the no-decision in the 2-to-1 loss.
Here was his pitching line from June 16th.
7 IP, 5 H, ER, 2 BB, 4 SO, 65 game score
Fast forward 30 days later, and Fiers once again started a game for the Astros. His opponent this time were the Twins from Minnesota. You may remember them as the franchise who signed away Jason Castro, the former Astros catcher.
Here was Fiers’ pitching line from earlier this today, which was a 5-to-3 Astros win.
7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO, 67 game score
You may be wondering what is so important about these two starts?
Well, the Astros went thirty days between these two starts without a starter pitching at least seven innings. Fiers was the starter in both games.
Excuse me while I check the latest trade rumors. Is Jose Quintana still available?
At least Fiers’ start ended with a victory. And his legendary turnaround continues.
The stolen base is one of the game’s more exciting, yet frustrating aspects.
On one hand, a successful stolen base puts the offense in a advantageous spot. On the other hand, a failed stolen base can end a rally. Or a game. Even a series.
In other words, it’s a risky proposition. But one Astro has made a name for himself in this department.
Jose Altuve has been inching his way higher and higher on the Astros franchise list. Stolen bases happens to be one of them. 218 total to be exact.
There is no telling if Altuve will ever catch Craig Biggio and Cesar Cedeno, but he currently has a decent chance in catching Jose Cruz for third place. j
So, that’s something good, right? After all, this is Altuve, the best second baseman in Texas, we are talking about.
Exactly one year ago today, the Astros signed Yuli Gurriel to a five-year, $47.5 million contract. At the time, it was a large investment for a relatively unknown player from Cuba.
365 days later and the investment has provided the Astros stability at first base.
Sure, the results have been a mixed bag of results as the 33-year old has produced an OPS of .816 this season yet walks at an extremely low rate. But the Astros had to pay more for stability at a position that used to be a symbol of team success. See: Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman.
At least he has great hair, right? Seriously, look at this mane.
Anyway, Gurriel’s contract eases up in the coming years as his $14.4 million salary in 2017 is the high water mark of his contract. The hope is that he continues to improve as he gains more major league experience. And this has happened to a certain extent.
Let’s hope this continues. And the hair. The hair itself is worth the $14.4 million salary.
**Statistics and information courtesy of Fangraphs, Spotrac and MLB.com**