Runs a-plenty: It may be hard to believe, considering how meager the offense has appeared on some nights, but the Houston Astros are doing worlds better than the did at the beginning of last season. In their first nine games of 2010, the Astros only scored 19 runs and averaged 7.33 hits. In 2011, they've already scored 35 runs and are averaging 9 hits a game.
In fact, in the first nine games of April, they've scored half the runs they did in the entire month of April last season. The Astros averaged just 3.18 runs per game last year in the opening month and just 3.44 runs per game in the first half of the season. So far, the Astros are outstripping both of those paces, averaging 3.88 runs a game, which puts them ahead of five teams in the National League and on the heels of the Nationals, Padres, Giants and Marlins for eighth place in the league.
What's more, the Astros are getting on base at a better clip and hitting for more power. Last year's team totaled just 16 extra-base hits in its first nine games and had a .280 on-base percentage and a .329 slugging percentage in April.
This season, the Astros have already collected 27 extra-base hits and are posting a .310 OBP and a .388 slugging percentage. They're also on pace for 105 runs this month, which isn't great, but it is more runs than the team scored in three of the six months last season.
It's very, very early, but if you're an optimist, you can definitely think that this year's Astros offense will be a pretty good upgrade on the offensive ineptitude of 2010. They're still in the bottom half of the league, but that's still better than being the worst and on a historically bad pace.
Winner, winner chicken dinner: Congratulations to Astrosblogger, who won our Opening Day FanPost Contest by garnering 12 of the 31 votes by Sunday's deadline. As I mentioned before, Astrosblogger will win a 75 dollar gift card to MLB.com.
We'll try to do more of these contests as the season rolls on, so stay tuned and keep writing those great FanPosts.
Lee's infamy: Doesn't it feel like Carlos Lee is also doing better than last season? I mean, he's got the two triples, he's hit a home run and it seems like he's consistently driving in runs. Sure, he still grounds into the occasional double play, but he's got to be better than the abysmal job he did last season, right?
As clack pointed out, it's really all about Lee's platoon splits in this very early run. When you look at Lee from last year to this, you'll see some similarities which are a little too glaring for my tastes. In 2010, Lee hit .183/.221/.232 in the season's first month. He didn't post a slugging percentage higher than the .429 he's at now until June.
His on-base percentage hasn't rebounded yet, as he's only walked once in 37 plate appearances. He managed just three in 86 plate appearances in April of 2010. If there is a grain of hope in his data so far, it's that his batting average on balls in play sits at a paltry .188 currently, even lower than it was in last season's first month.
So, he's hit for more power (against left-handers), but he's still been extraordinarily unlucky on batted balls. Does that mean he's due to rebound a bit? Hopefully we'll see a bit of that against the Cubs this week.
Comment of the Day: In honor of the best player from Sunday's game:
Comment Leaderboard: Once again, here's the roll call from last night's game:
Roll Call: AstroB, clack, StrosSouth, Joe in Birmingham, allphilla, Irish Pete, shipgoalie05, MadMartygan, mike_o, timmy_, entropic soul, megaera, goingforthecorner, Trei Brundrett, Danteslion, BustaPozee, Its Gonna Happen
|Name||# of Posts|
|Joe in Birmingham||53|