The Houston Astros currently sit 6-6 through the first 12 games of the season, and we sure have seen the two extremes of this ball club. We have seen the Astros steamroll teams out on the road and look unbeatable – only to see them come back home and barf all over themselves during their first six-game homestand.
Things are uncertain for Houston now with five key guys on the IL for COVID-19 health and safety protocol reasons, to go along with slow starts from players like Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker and most of the pitching staff.
With this early season funk, let’s dive into the trends of the overall performances of the team and individual players.
Despite the recent struggles, the Astros offense has generally been good early on. The Astros rank second in the league in home runs, third in batting average, fourth in slugging percentage and fourth in OPS. These numbers are encouraging considering Houston only hit .237 during their abysmal opening homestand.
Houston is struggling with driving in runs when runners are on base. Currently they are hitting .210 with runners in scoring position, which is 23rd in all of baseball (league average: .242). Last night was a prime example, where the Astros had the bases loaded twice at the end of the game and couldn’t muster more than one run. Assuming this team can find their groove at the plate and get up to league average with RISP, Houston might be a run-scoring monster as the season wanes on.
The pitching, on the other hand, hasn’t been as terrific. The Astros currently are 16th in the league in ERA (4.29), 13th in walks, 20th in strikeouts per nine and 17th in WHIP. I guess you could say this is encouraging considering the slow starts from the starters and with a handful of arms on the IL.
What is alarming is the early bullpen performance – the Astros are dead-last in ERA in close or late game situations with a 10.52 ERA. Granted that Houston has not played a ton of close games thus far, but this number should worry fans since Pedro Baez, Andre Scrubb and Enoli Paredes may not come back for at least a few more weeks.