1) What's up with the offense? - I started thinking about this when Brooks mentioned last night on Twitter that a source told him the Astros are considering making moves on offense. That's because they're frustrated by the progress at the major league level and want some of the hot-hitting guys (plural) up soon.
I'll be honest. I'm confused by this.
Houston ranks fourth in the league in runs scored, seventh in total bases and fourth in walks. Isn't that pretty good?
I realize, though, that there have been struggles recently, and that two games when Houston scored 11 and 12 runs respectively, increased that total from somewhere between Washington and Chicago to the top four.
Is this a case of Houston being convinced the success in April won't continue? Or have they seen enough of the likes of Chris Johnson or (more likely) Brian Bogusevic?
I don't really know. I do know Houston hasn't been as good as they could be and the offense has been inconsistent at times. Not sure that necessitates a shakeup, though.
2) Oh, the good old days were good - Look, I realize all that matters at the end of the day is won-loss record. Some people like going off that and looking at nothing outside batting average, RBIs and pitching wins. I get that.
The way they did things in the past may be nice, but it just doesn't have a place in thinking about a team nowadays. The Astros may lose more games than they win for the rest of the season, but simply by looking at things like run differential, we can get an idea of how the team may do going forward.
I get frustrated by all the one-run losses and I know Houston has lost a lot of series in a row now, but there are plenty of signs that the team is better than it was last year. Do we have to focus just on wins and losses or can we hope that things may improve?
Team that score more runs than they give up will win games. That's a simple statistic, isn't advanced and is backed up by years and years of MLB history. Don't need to dream up anything more advanced than that.
3) Schedule lightening up - We talked about the rough Houston schedule that just wrapped up. Back then, I said if they come out of the other side three or four games under .500, they'd be happy. They ended up six games under, but had at least two games they should have won (Sunday for sure).
If Houston wants to start playing up to its Pythagorean record, now would be a great time. They play three of the next five series against teams under .500 right now, with three of those series coming at home, where Houston is 4-5 this season.
It might also be nice to win a series or two over that stretch and maybe avoid getting swept by the Cardinals this weekend.