Something has to give with the Astros struggles offensively at home this season.
Somewhere around the fifth inning of Friday night’s Astros game, a police officer standing behind me made a statement. “The Astros scored 36 runs on the road trip and can’t score one run at home! They are wasting another good start by Justin Verlander.” We talked a lot about what it’s like working the Astros games. At the end of the game, the offense was not able to get more than one hit.
That was the Astros 40th game of the season. They had played 20 games on the road and 20 at home. Since then they won the next two games 6-1, which hopefully made the officer in Torchy’s Party Deck happy. Does that mean the offense is alive now at home? Not yet, but it is a great start. Evan Gattis and Carlos Correa were big reasons for the offense surge on Saturday and Sunday.
For the sake of this post, let’s ignore the first game of the Angels series.
Let’s focus on the 42 games, 22 of them were at home and 20 on the road. Let’s start with the basic stats. They are batting .223 at home. That is about 23% lower than the .289 that they hit on the road. In today’s analytical game, batting average is not a big deal. But that’s still a glaring difference that points to some of the issues at home.
The thing that I tend to focus on is the players OPS because that looks beyond just hits and gives you more of a feel for what the player can do. At home, they have a .661 OPS, which is 20% less than the .831 OPS on the road. The .289 OBP is way below the average .325 OBP, and the .408 slugging percentage is below the average .450. They struggle at all aspects offensively at home.
With the homer barrage this weekend, they have surpassed the 22 homers on the road with 24 homers at home. They have hit 55 doubles on the road, but only 25 at home. This is surprising with a team like the Astros. As you could guess, pitchers look more elite at Minute Maid Park striking out 187 batters (8.5 per game). On the road, they have struck out 164 times (8.2 per game), which is pretty even to what they are doing at home.
Just score a few runs.
As I wrote yesterday in the Springer post, the Astros have only scored 85 runs at home in 22 games. This was after scoring six runs in two straight games, raising their average run scored at home from 3.65 to 3.86. Not including the first game of the Angels series, they have scored 117 runs in 20 games on the road. That is a whopping 5.85 runs per game, which is 34% higher than home games.
What’s frustrating is that the Astros have scored 202 runs, but have only allowed 111 runs through the first 42 games. The Pythagorean record with those numbers is 31-11, which is five more wins than the actual 26-16 record. Hopefully, things will improve at home. Games in May might not mean much later in the season, but they need to win series. Maybe the should also keep the roof closed from now on.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***