Michael Brantley is another guy that has certainly struggled, but whose struggles are understandable. Brantley's recovery from shoulder surgery took longer than anyone after experiencing a setback in May. Since returning from the injured list, he has certainly looked like a guy that has been on the shelf for a while and his future with the team is officially in doubt.
Before Brantley got effectively shut down with soreness in his shoulder yet again, he really struggled in September. Hitting .265 isn't the worst to be sure and he did manage to crank out a couple homers, but a 91 wRC+ in 36 plate appearances isn't going to excite anyone and then there is the problem that he hasn't been able to stay on the field.
The Astros desperately needed someone on their pitching staff to step up this month. Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier have mostly done their jobs, but they are only two guys and have been far from perfect. One pitcher who Houston really needed to get more out of and haven't has been JP France.
After being really good through the month of July, France has fallen off a cliff lately. Giving up too many walks and struggling to put guys away has resulted in a 5.75 ERA for JP in September with a FIP that seems to indicate that he has been somewhat fortunate to be that good. France is likely never going to be a guy that misses many bats, but he has been punished this month for having all of these extra baserunners.
When the Astros traded for Justin Verlander at the trade deadline, the hope was that he would put Houston over the top and finally provide some much needed stability in their rotation. However, the month of September hasn't exactly gone according to plan for Verlander and the Astros leaving one to wonder if the Astros could start feeling some buyer's remorse.
In four starts this month, Verlander has posted a 5.19 ERA in 26 innings of work with a nearly matching 5.49 FIP. The good news is that he is still not walking anybody, but the big dropoff in his strikeout rate this season has continued and Justin has been giving up homers at a pretty alarming rate. This is still Justin Verlander we are talking about, so don't be surprised if he turns back time a bit in the playoffs. However, Father Time seems to have finally caught up with him and the end result has been a disappointing final month of the season when the Astros needed him the most.