Through nine games, there has been a lot of good, but some bad too
After nine games this season, the Astros sit at 6-3. That would be on pace for 108 wins, which would be a great season. Even through 9 games though, we have seen some good performances and some not so good performances. Here, I will look at the good, the bad and the ugly so far this season.
- The Offense
I could break down individuals, and I will on a couple, but overall, the Astros offense has been elite. Despite a couple bad game over the weekend, they are still #1 in the AL in BA, SLG, OPS, HR and runs scored. Here are the OPS+ for the starting lineup – 161, 231, 155, 143, 177, 192, 108, 65, -24 (we will get into the -24 later). Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurrielhitting like All-Stars again, Alex Bregman being Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez back in the lineup, Michael Brantleycrushing the ball, Kyle Tucker leading the team in HR and Carlos Correa working on that big contract. This is exactly the kind of start we wanted to see from the lineup.
- Top 3 Rotation
Coming into the season the top 3 of the rotation appeared to be Zack Greinke, Cristian Javier and Lance McCullers. Well so far, those three have been the bright spots in the rotation and have allowed a combined 6 ER in 6 starts. Greinke 1.38 ERA with just 1 BB in 13 innings. Javier has a 2.08 ERA with 11 K in 8.2 innings and McCullers has a 1.80 ERA with 13 K in 10 innings. The only downside would be the length of the starts so far, but they should continued to get stretched out.
- The Bullpen
This one is hard to call bad, because there has been some bright spots like Ryne Stanek (1.50 ERA in 6 innings), Bryan Abreu (1.35 ERA in 6.2 innings) and a 0.00 ERA from Pressly in 4 innings. But overall, the pen has a 4.41 ERA with a 4.67 FIP. This is not ideal. Raley has allowed 5 ER in 4 innings, Taylor has allowed 3 ER in 3.2 innings and Smith has allowed 5 ER in 3.1 innings. Paredes also walked 6 in just 1.1 innings so far. They were all solid last year (Smith didn’t pitch) but have struggled in 2021. The Astros are going to need them to turn it around to bridge that gap to Stanek and Pressly.
- Catcher (Offensively)
While offense isn’t that important from the catcher position in this lineup, its hard to imagine them being any worse. Martin Maldonado and Jason Castro are a combined 4-for-35 (.114 BA) with just 1 HR and 15 K. Thats good for a -4 wRC+. I don’t expect them to be this bad offensively the entire season. but it has been ugly to this point. The one positive here, despite the struggles at the catcher position, the Astros have still had an elite offense through the first 9 games including some record breaking numbers in the first five games.