What's wrong with the Astros offense?
As we leave the haze of this year's baseball draft and start to focus on, you know, the actual big leaguers instead of the future ones, that's the biggest question facing this team. In consecutive series, Houston has failed to find its offensive stroke, outside of a lone game against the Orioles.
Since Houston's six-game winning streak ended on Tuesday, the Astros have lost five of six games. In those five losses, Houston has scored just six runs total. Twice, the Astros mustered just one run and twice they scored only two.
Sunday's indignity was getting shut out in Kansas City to end what was a painful road trip to barbeque country. Lucas Harrell pitched one of his best games of the season, throwing seven shutout innings and allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out one. He only needed 99 pitches to get through those seven innings, but Bo Porter pulled him and went with Hector Ambriz.
Ambriz promptly gave up four hits and two runs to give the Royals the victory, taking his third loss of the season. What's worse, the Royals did all that on singles, as Kansas City didn't have an extra-base hit in the game.
In second game back to the lineup, second baseman Jose Altuve was 1 for 4 after being plugged into the leadoff spot. Carlos Pena was the only Astro to reach base twice, going 1 for 3 with a walk. Shortstop Ronny Cedeno was 1 for 3 with the game's only extra-base hit, a double and his fifth of the season.
So, where does the Houston offense go from here? It's tough to tell. Five games is not enough to be called a slump, but if previously hot players like Jason Castro and J.D. Martinez continue to struggle, the Astros could continue to see zeroes on the scoreboard for the next week or so.
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