Astros: Fans, it’s officially time to bring out the panic button
Alex Bregman and company
With the three of the top four hitters out of the lineup all together at one point, that leaves Alex Bregman and his .278 batting average with guys who are interchangeable. It’s been more or less a one-man show in the lineup.
Since the All-Star break, only Alex Bregman, Marwin Gonzalez and Yuli Gurriel have played all 22 games. They are hitting .232, .284 and .188 over that stretch, respectively. Josh Reddick had some good streaks, but he’s batting .213 in this span. The untouchable prospect Kyle Tucker has contributed four hits in 24 plate appearances for a whopping .167 batting average. The rest of the lineup makes for a below average team. Since the Mid-Summer Classic, the Astros are ranked 28th in the league in batting average at .224 combined. They rank 26th in runs scored with 95 And here’s the kicker and my point exactly. They rank dead last in hits with 164. To put things in perspective, the Rangers have 81 more hits in the last 22 games than the Astros do. Go look it up.
Wasted dominant pitching
Last week in my Trending Down article, I touched on how the dominate the starting pitching has been all for naught lately. In their last 51 combined starts they have gone (13-15) and notched 16 no-decisions. There simply is no run support and these five starters can’t realistically pitch seven shutout innings every game.
The Astros still lead the league in ERA at 3.05 combined. Since the All-Star break though, these five starters averaged 3.58 runs per game while scoring just 4.31 that’s skewed due to the 14-run game against the Dodgers and last night’s 12-1 win. Take those games out, they average just 3.45 per outing. That makes for losing baseball.
Justin Verlander has been seeking his 200 wins for two weeks now. He is seventh in the major leagues in ERA at 2.52. Gerrit Cole is ninth in baseball in ERA at 2.71. Charlie Morton is not far behind at 2.88, good for twelfth overall in the league. And the early struggles of Dallas Keuchel are long behind us as he is now 21st overall in the bigs with 3.43 ERA. Lance McCullers, who isn’t due back until September, is 40th with his 3.94 ERA.
That’s three of the top 12 pitchers in baseball going 4-7 in their last 14 games combined with three no-decisions. Explain to me how a starting rotation this dominate can’t win games like they did early on? The run support just isn’t there. At all.