The Astros offense hasn’t been a joke this season. In fact, the lineup is the complete opposite of a joke.
Raise your dominant hand if you are curious to see how the Astros offense fares in the postseason.
Oh, look, I raised both hands. At different times, though. Otherwise I wouldn’t be typing this blog post. I can’t type with my mind.
Regardless of the postseason, the Astros offense in the regular season has been amongst the best in baseball. Arguably the best offense – 122 wRC+ – in baseball this season. In case you didn’t already know, the 122 wRC+ leads the entire majors.
If the season ended today, the 2017 Astros would have the eighth-best offense in baseball history if you judge by wRC+. This ranks with some all-time great offenses like the Muderer’s Row Yankees. This is September. That’s something no one was expecting in Spring Training.
So, the Astros offense is good. Historically good. That explains the record (86-53) the team has today. Unsurprisingly, Houston has an incredible 68-and-11 record when they score five or more runs in a game.
Baseball teams tend to win more times than not when they score a lot. That is definitely not a revolutionary idea, but a key point nonetheless.
How about games when they score four or less runs?
Well, the Astros’ record plummets to 18-42. A .300 winning percentage.
Don’t be too ashamed, though.
As a whole, teams fails to have a winning percentage above .500 if they score four or less runs in a single game. When you look at the entire league, teams that score four runs win roughly 47% of those games. The Astros have won about 33% of their games when scoring exactly four runs. However, they have won 42% of their games when scoring three runs.
Baseball is going to baseball.
And the win percentage sharply drops off a cliff as the run totals decrease. Not a shocker there.
Back to postseason baseball for a moment.
I believe there to be a legitimate concern for the Astros if the offense fails to “show up” in the postseason. Again, there is no reason to expect this development.
But it could happen. Look at the 1998 Astros and Kevin Brown. Right now, I see Corey Kluber and Chris Sale in two postseason matches. That may not end well for the Astros.
If so, the pitching staff will need to step up in a major way. Something akin to this past series in Seattle would be a fine place to start. But that’s Seattle, so, I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much.
While there has been much discussion of how much value Justin Verlander brings to the table this season for Houston, he should increase the odds of success in a postseason series. Even if the increase is slight. That could make all the difference in the world.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and Fangraphs**