I think it’s safe to say that the Astros’ offense is basically nonexistent when it is needed most, the Astros are getting their hits in, but when it comes to bringing in runners, the Astros manage to squander the perfect situation away. From having no outs, runner on second, the Astros will leave the man on, or either move him to third and then strand him there. No doubt frustrating Astros fans and players alike, while there is no exact formula or key to the offense, it seems to be the youth and inexperience coming into effect and plaguing the Astros, also, the fact that we have been playing against solid defenses against the Pirates and Phillies.
The Astros offense is in dire need of a possible shake up, revamp, and total reorganization. After a hot start behind JD Martinez, who has fallen into a slump of recently, the torch has been passed to Jose Altuve who leads the team in batting average by hitting .321. Five Astros went hit-less today with a minimum of three at-bats, and only Carlos Lee had more than one hit in the 5-1 loss against the Phillies Monday night, the lone run coming off a solo blast from Marwin Gonzalez, his first of his career.
The Astros are making contact, but just are not getting on base, hitting grounders into easy outs, or striking out. Taking walks has become a rarity for the Astros as they only draw single walk in the first game against the Phillies.
Failure to come through and inconsistency have plagued the Astros for who knows how long and they are currently on a three game losing streak, losing the final two games in the series with Pittsburgh and the opener with Philadelphia. They joined the San Diego Padres, who recently ended their streak Monday, as the only teams in baseball this season to go eight straight games without scoring more than three runs in any of them.
With the line-up struggling to get on base, Manager Brad Mills has tweaked the line-up, moving Altuve to the lead off spot in hopes to get the offense more of a spark, I like the move and I think getting the rhythm of consistent batting back will indeed take some time, a lot of time which Mills has.
I think the main priority in Houston is to get the guys on base, and producing runs to win more games; at only five games below .500, the NL Central is essentially a free for all, the Cardinals are the antithesis of the Astros, sitting at 20-15, atop of the division.
Behind good, solid pitching, the Astros could be threats, not yet contenders, but they could be on their way as they are trying to find their identities.
It is not at all close to a time to hit the panic button, we are far beyond the panic phase time to be frank, and we are building from the debris of hitting the panic button years ago, but the future is bright, the young and fruitful talent is ever plentiful. The good Astros baseball we have grown to know and love in years past is going to return very soon, all that matters now is building the foundation for that time.
– Richard Perez