6 Astros players whose struggles in September have hurt the team's playoff chances

The month of September has not gone to plan for the Houston Astros.
Sep 25, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws
Sep 25, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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Jeremy Peña

Overall, Jeremy Peña's sophomore campaign has been decent enough. He remains an excellent defender and his 2023 slash line of .261/.321/.381 and 96 wRC+ isn't that far off from the numbers he put up during his rookie season. However, the month of September has seen some of the more troubling offensive trends for him magnified.

While Jeremy is hitting .277 this month, his power output has continued to drop off in a big way with zero homers this month (he only has 10 this season overall) and he is slugging just .337 in September. When you combine that with his pre-existing refusal to draw walks, you have a guy who has posted just an 80 wRC+ during the season's final month when Houston could have really used the offensive boost.

Hunter Brown

Young pitchers will very often break your heart and Hunter Brown has been no exception in 2023. After putting up some really promising numbers in the first half of the season, Brown has fallen off in the second half and September in particular has been a nightmarish month for him.

In five starts this month, Hunter has posted a 9.14 ERA in 21.2 innings of work. While he has kept striking out guys at a high rate in September, he has also has a walk rate of 4.57 BB/9 and when you combine all of those free base runners with a tendency to give up hard contact, bad things tend to happen.

Jose Urquidy

In fairness to Urquidy, he has been dealt a rough hand in 2023. After a shoulder injury cost him a chunk of time this season, Jose has not been the same pitcher he once was since returning. The results were so rough that the team has used him exclusively as a reliever in September, but that hasn't made the results much better.

In four appearances in September, Urquidy has put up a shockingly bad 8.71 ERA in 10.1 innings of work with an 8.39 FIP that points to these struggles not just the result of bad luck in a small sample. At this point, it is fair to wonder whether or not the Astros should include him on their playoff roster, although they may not have a choice given how much their pitching depth has been tested this season.