The Astros have closed out April and begin May with a 20-10 record, a division lead, and positive start to this week’s series against the Yankees.
After salvaging one win against the Angels, the Astros wrap up April going 4-2 in their last six games. After last week’s offensive surge, the Astros didn’t skip a beat. In the last six games, they scored 41 runs allowing only 16. Once again, some players took advantage of this scoring clinic and some couldn’t produce much offense at all. Let’s take a look at who was slumping through the last week of April.
Trending Down: Yuli Gurriel
In his last six games, Yuli Gurriel has had 22 at-bats and mustered only three hits for a .136 batting average dropping his season average to .224. He scored two runs in those games and batted in two himself. A couple weeks ago he found himself on the Trending Up list, this week he landed on the trending down. And that, ladies and gentleman, is the definition of a streak. One week you have great production and the next you have a mini slump. That’s fine as long as he can shake it off and the Astros will be fine if these slumps don’t affect everyone at the same time.
Trending Down: Brian McCann
Speaking of streaking, Brian McCann has entered a mini slump also. After having a nice stretch a couple weeks ago, his bat has seemed to cool off a bit. Entering the last six games, he maintained a .304 batting average. In 13 at-bats, McCann has only managed three hits. Not terrible if you are a .230 batter, but McCann was a .300 hitter all April until last week. He’s now averaging .271. That’s not bad, I’m positive he will turn it around in May. There are some juicy match ups in May that will provide some hits for him.
Trending Down: Joe Smith
Look, the bullpen has been good as of late. But in his last three outings, relief pitcher Joe Smith has struggled mightily. In only 2.2 innings pitcher, Smith gave up seven earned runs on seven hits with two long balls. With a save opportunity against the Angels, he got roughed up giving up 4 runs as the Astros drop their second game with the Angels. He now has a 9.64 ERA on the season and averaging at least one run per inning pitched.
The newly acquired Smith was brought here to help the bullpen, but it seems he’s the weak link to the bullpen. We’re not sure where AJ Hinch goes from here but just as his confidence was restored in Ken Giles, I do foresee Joe Smith getting another chance. It is only May, but the hits allowed in 11 games has to be concerning. The mechanics need to be fixed if the Astros want to continue with a bullpen that seems to be slowly but surely coming together.
*** Statistics and information courtesy of Baseball-Reference and MLB.com ***