Comparing 2022 Houston Astros to other Golden Era teams
2017 Houston Astros: 101-61 (.623 Winning percentage).
AL West Division Champions. Second best record in American League, third best in all of baseball. 896 Runs Scored. 700 runs allowed. End of Season: World Series Champions in Seven Games Over Los Angeles Dodgers.
2017 is when the Houston Astros Golden Era truly started as they earned their first World Series championship in franchise history
They lead the league in runs scored with 896, 38 runs ahead of the next best team which was the New York yankees.
Their pitching however was less than stellar. Oddly enough the pitcher who lead the team in innings pitched that year was none other than Mike Fiers throwing 153.1 innings. The team ERA was 4.12 which was 11th in all of baseball and just above league average that season which was 4.35.
Obviously there was a reason the team traded for Justin Verlander which every Astros fan can agree has worked out remarkably well as Verlander has brought the team a World Series Championship, a Cy Young award season and potentially a second Cy Young award coming this year.
The 2017 Astros seem like the inverse of the 2022 Astros as hitting was their calling card, but a beleaguered bullpen led by the volatile Ken Giles forced the Astros to resort to bringing starters in for relief when the postseason hit.
Both of their series clinching game seven wins in 2017 came on the backs of Lance McCullers Jr.’s 4 inning relief stretch which included his famous 24 straight breaking balls to the New York Yankees and Charlie Morton throwing five innings of relief to close out the Dodgers in Dodger Stadium and win the World Series.
Brad Peacock also earned a 3.2 inning save in game three so these Astros very much had to piece together their pitching in the postseason (similar to 2021 but we’ll get to that team later.)
If the 2017 Astros had to face the 2022 Astros in a seven game series it would be hard to say 2017 would beat 2022. Despite the fact that 2017 is the only team to win the World Series, 2022 has Verlander posting his best ERA, WHIP, ERA+ among a litany of other stats where this is the best season he’s ever had.
Despite the offensive woes of the 2022 team, at full strength their holes on offense are not as glaring as the 2017 team’s holes in pitching. The disparity between the bullpens would be the ultimate factor as this team has the best bullpen possibly ever in the history of the franchise right up there with the days of Brad Lidge in the seventh inning, Octavio Dotel in the eighth and Billy Wagner in the ninth.
The weaknesses offensively for both teams are at catcher. While center field and first base are the weak spots for the 2022 Astros with a mix of Chas McCormick, Jake Mayers, Mauricio Dubon and a struggling Yuli Gurriel, the 2017 Astros fielded Josh Reddick (albeit in a career year for him) and a combination of Evan Gattis and Carlos Beltran at DH.
Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez are both exponentially better than those players and make up for the disadvantages they have playing against George Springer in center and a better version of Yuli Gurriel at first.
So this 2022 team is better than the World Series winning team. Obviously a sign for hope going into this October.