Season Record: 50-26. First in AL West, 3 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners. Last week they were 1⁄2 game behind. Second in AL behind New York, 1 1⁄2 games behind first place Yankees. Last week the Astros were fourth.
Pythagorean won/loss record: 55-21, best in MLB. Run differential: +161
Baseball Reference SRS: 2.1, best in MLB
The Big Trends: In the previous week I could boast of an unbeaten week in review. The streak continued until 12 games, 10 on the road, until the streak was finally ended Tuesday night. This week the Astros were 6-1, and have continued to dominate the way they have for the last month, mainly by league best hitting, while pitching, which was on pace to break every all-time record, then regressed to merely good for a time, is again back to leading the league in ERA for this week. So mark it down. The Astros lead the league for the year in all major hitting and pitching categories simultaneously starting this week. They have scored more runs than any other team this year, and have given up the fewest. They are at or near the top of every major hitting and pitching category this year.
Week Record: 6-1. The week started last Thursday with a dominant hitting and pitching performance, highlighted by Brian McCann’s two run homer, and Justin Verlander’s seven inning quality start, which sealed a 7-3 win over Oakland. It was Verlander’s 9th win.
The Stros travelled to Kansas City and on Friday repeated a 7-3 victory, highlighted by Evan Gattis’ 4 RBI, 3 run home run performance that sealed Charlie Morton’s 8th win.
The next game was a 10-2 bombfest, with Dallas Keuchel returning to form to get his fourth win, while the relentless offense scored 10, led by Alex Bregman and Max Stassi home runs.
The last game in KC was a come from behind 7-4 victory, highlighted by a Carlos Correa home run and an Evan Gattis RBI base hit, his third of the game. Lance McCullers, after a shaky first, allowed four runs, two earned, enabling Tony Sipp to get his second win in relief.
The Astros came home Monday for three games against the Tampa Bay Rays. They took a five to four victory thanks to the 2 run, walk off double by Alex Bregman in the bottom of the ninth. Gerrit Cole allowed 4 runs in seven innings but kept the game close for Collin McHugh, who got the win.
The Rays took game two at Minute Maid, 2-1, wasting another superb start by Justin Verlander, and breaking the 12 game winning streak.
Last night the Astros took the series with with a 5-1 win in what looked like a home run derby, with four home runs and three in a row in the sixth inning, George Springer, Alex Bregman, and Jose Altuve going back to back to back. It was Altuve’s second home run of the night, both reaching the train tracks over the Crawford boxes. Charlie Morton got his ninth win.
Hitting: Below is a chart with key team statistics for the last seven days, last 30 days, and for the month. Following will be a discussion of trends and key events.
June 21 Astros Hitting Stats
|last 7 days||.889/1st||146/1st||11/2nd||42/3rd||40/5th||76/1st|
|last 30 days||.842/1st||134/1st||44/3rd||173/1st||202/4th||285/1st|
|year to date||.777/2nd||117/1st||96/6th||396/1st||602/11th||695/1st|
For the first time the Astros are first in the MLB in the most definitive overall hitting statistic, WCR+, tied with the Yankees. This is the culmination of a steady rise in the last 6 weeks, including last week’s 146, by far league leading, but a slight decline from the previous week’s 165.
Last August the Astros’ bats experienced a slump that kept their overall statistics from breaking all-time records. Perhaps the Astros started the season in that slump this year, and are regressing upwards towards their true level. Let’s hope.
Last Week’s Individual Hitting: Below is a chart of the individual statistics compiled by the Astros’ hitters in the last week.
For comparison purposes here are individual Astros hitting and pitching statistics for the season.
Who’s hot. Jose Altuve, with 6 extra base hits and 2 monster home runs, is getting his power stroke back. He’s looking like he did in his MVP/championship season again. Marwin Gonzalez, great to have you back, hitting .444 with a 1.212 OPS. Alex Bregman led the team with home runs and RBI, and came up huge clutch with his walk off double Tuesday. His WRC+ among third basemen is now 5th in MLB, just above Kris Bryant and third in the AL. Among AL third basemen he is second in WAR. Read here for national recognition going towards our budding superstar, Alex Bregman
Cast your All Star ballots for Alex Bregman. Do it early and often. Let’s see Astros playing together at second, third and short at the All Star game.
Tony Kemp continues to provide spark in the nine hole, and Evan Gattis, though not quite scorching like he was last week, still hit .866 OPS for the week.
In the early season, when the offense was struggling, there was almost no offense from Evan Gattis, Marwin Gonzalez, and whomever AJ Hinch put in LF, usually batting ninth. With the re-emergence of these two hitters, and the emergence of Tony Kemp, opposing pitchers, as they did last year, once again face an imposing lineup of tough outs 1-9 in the batting order.
Who’s Not: George Springer, who has always been a streaky hitter, is ice cold, although let’s hope his monster home run last night is the beginning of a turnaround. Usually, the Astros go as George goes, so hopefully when he again takes off, the Stros continue to stay hot with him.
Pitching: Below is a very detailed chart with year to date, 30 day and 7 day pitching statistics. I will begin with an analysis, and if you want to dig deep, go for it.
Generally, the Astros continue to dominate the league statistically for the year in most important categories, ERA, FIP, strikeouts, etc.
The month shows a somewhat disturbing pattern in which the Astros pitching has shown a marked tendency toward the middle of the pack. For example the staff in general was 10th in ERA in the last 30 days, and the starters were 17th, with a 4.17 ERA.
The last seven days has shown a degree of rebound, as a staff having the best ERA in MLB for the week at 2.00.
One unexpected trend in the last seven and last 30 days is that the relief pitching has outperformed the starting pitching. In the last 30 days the relief staff has a 2.48 ERA, ranked fourth in the league, compared to the 17th ranking of the starters. Last week the relief pitchers were almost perfect, with a 0.49 ERA, 1st in MLB, compared to the starters’ ERA of 2.62, 4th in the league.
Another obvious trend is the increase in the walk rate, especially among the starters. Over 30 days the BB% for starters is 26th in the league, and over 7 days it is 18th. When we started tracking this number in May it was 1st or 2nd.
Here is the pitching chart.
Astros Pitching Trends
|Time Frame||ERA/rank||FIP/ rank||xFIP/rank||AVG/rank||K%/rank||BB%/rank||runs/rank||WHIP/rank|
|Time Frame||ERA/rank||FIP/ rank||xFIP/rank||AVG/rank||K%/rank||BB%/rank||runs/rank||WHIP/rank|
|7 day total||2.00/1st||2.84/4th||3.13/2nd||.170/1st||31.5/2nd||8.5/14th||19/6th||.98/2nd|
|7 day starters||2.62/4th||3.49/5th||3.46/6th||.195/2nd||28.4/4th||9.3/21st||18/18th||1.10/6th|
|7 day relief||0.49/1st||1.24/1st||2.30/2nd||.102/1st||40.0/1st||6.2/5th||1/1st||0.55/1st|
|30 day total||3.57/10th||3.60/7th||3.42/2nd||.227/8th||27.7/2nd||7.6/8th||110/13th||1.18/7th|
|30 day starters||4.13/17th||4.15/16th||3.82/9th||.233/8th||24.9/5th||8.3%/18th||85/26th||1.25/16th|
|30 day relief||2.48/4th||2.53/1st||2.65/1st||.214/5th||33.5/1st||6.3/5th||25/5th||1.05/3rd|
Below is a chart of the Astros pitchers over the last seven days
The staff allowed only 14 earned runs, only one surrendered by the relief staff. Charlie Morton won two games, giving him 9 wins for the year, tied with Justin Verlander, but in those wins he gave up 8 walks, a trend of wildness that began the previous week.
Another slight concern has been the regression of Gerrit Cole. He has given up four runs in each of his last two games, and in his start last week he surrendered a career high five walks. In the last 30 days, comprising his last 6 starts, Cole has a 3.92 ERA and a 4.43 FIP. That, despite a very low BABIP of .212. He has surrendered 7 home runs in those 6 games.
Overall for the pitching and hitting an amazingly good week. One caveat: three games were played against the Kansas City Royals this week, whose pitching and hitting is near the very bottom of the league.
Astros Leaders, Offense:
Jose Altuve leads the league in batting average and hits, hitting .347 with 105 hits. George Springer leads the team in home runs with 15, Carlos Correa and Evan Gattis lead the team in RBI with 47, Altuve leads the team in stolen bases with 11.
Astros Leaders, Defense:
Justin Verlander leads the American League in ERA at 1.60. Gerrit Cole is second in the AL in strikeouts with 138. Verland and Charlie Morton each have 9 wins, Ken Giles leads in saves with 11, and Chris Devenski leads in holds with 13. Team ERA+ is still on track for the all time record at 131.
Comparison with the League:
As the season progresses I thought it would be interesting to compare the Astros’ performance statistics to those of their main AL competitors. We’ve seen how the Astros are trending, let’s see how our competitors are trending. So below will go two charts, one that compares the Astros hitting with the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians and Mariners, and another that compares the pitching.
League hitting, June 21
|Astros 7 day||146/1st||42/1st|
|Yankees 7 day||124/3rd||32/5th|
|Red Sox 7 day||67/12th||20/11th|
|Indians 7 day||116/6th||39/2nd|
|Mariners 7 day||68/11th||19/12th|
The Astros for the first time occupied top honors in hitting for the year, tied with the Yanks in WRC+ and leading in runs scored. They are trending up for the week and the month, first in every category. Also trending up are the Yankees and the Indians, and trending down are the Red Sox and Mariners, who were 11th last week although a respectable sixth for the month and 4th for the year.
The following is the trending chart for pitching:
League Pitching June 21
|Astros 7 day||2.00/1sr|
|Yankees 7 days||2.14/2nd|
|Red Sox 7 day||3.96/7th|
|Indians 7 days||3.00/4th|
|Mariners 7 day||4,96/12th|
Although the Astros lead the league in pitching for the year, and for the last 7 days, they are trending down for the last 30 days in sixth place. For the last 30 days the Yankees are the best in the AL and for the year second behind the Astros. The Red Sox are third overall and third for the month. The Mariners had a bad week but for the month have out pitched the Astros in 4th place. The Indians are trending up for the week but are behind the Astros for the month and rank 7th in the AL for the year.
Fielding: The Astros still lead the league in Fielding percentage at .990, although that is down .001 from last week. Their defense efficiency ratio is up to .721, second in the league behind the Chicago Cubs. They have led the league in this category for most of the year.
Who is the most valuable Astros for the last week
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