Apr 19, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Bud Norris (20) is congratulated by coach Mike Barnett (31) after scoring a run during the sixth inning at Nationals Park. The Astros defeated the Nationals 11 - 4. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
Much like conroestro has been doing with the Astros pitching, each week we'll take a look at one facet of this team. Today, we're going to check in on the offense to see how the hitters have been doing in the past seven days.
Run scoring - The Astros scored 29 runs over the last seven games, for an average of just over four runs per game. That ranked 13th in the majors over that stretch, but Houston was just two runs from being in the top 10, so it was a pretty good week for the offense.
Obviously, the 11 run explosion on Thursday helps things immensely, but that is going to happen facing good pitching staffs. I'm sure the Astros will be lucky to get 10 runs total this weekend against a talented Dodgers pitching staff. Still, having a league average offense is pretty nice for once.
Walks a-plenty - One of the most pleasant parts of this team has been its ability to draw walks and work counts. In the past seven games, five different Astros posted walk rates above 10. Well, six actually did, but I couldn't bring myself to lump J.A. Happ into that number.
Houston's 25 walks in the past seven games ranked eighth in the majors. The power hasn't been there, but getting on base that much can lead to good things, even when the offense isn't coming up with hits.
Altuve leads the way - Call him Houston's WARrior for the past week, Altuve has chipped in with big hits, a pretty high slugging percentage and great baserunning. About the only problem you can say with him this week is that the success has come without any walks. What's remarkable about this week, though, and almost as remarkable as the fact he only swung through one strike to start the season?
Tuve hit every pitch he swung at in the strike zone. Every one. That's a 100 percent zone contact rate, which is pretty spectacular. We don't know what the reasons for this might be, but after getting all those walks early, maybe pitchers started challenging him in the zone, which led to more hits and extra-base hits for the little second sacker.
Schafer either red hot or ice cold - Much like Brian Bogusevic, Jordan Schafer hasn't been hitting for much of an average over the past week, but his walks have kept things from spiraling out of control. Schafer has the third-highest walk rate on the team in the past week, leading to a team-high six runs scored.
Curiously, though, Schafer has a negative baserunning component on FanGraphs. I'm chalking that up to a weird sample size not accurately reflecting his value on the base paths.
The one quibble I have with Schafer is that he hasn't shown the power that his weight game in the offseason was supposed to bring. Yeah, he's still doing the things a leadoff hitter should, but you'd also like to see a little pop every now and then.
J.D's better when not streaking - The hit streak and average might be down, but that doesn't mean J.D. Martinez hasn't been very good in the past seven games. The left fielder has a walk rate over 20 percent and an on-base average above .430. That, plus the power he did show, means his weighted on-base average was a very impressive .409.