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Astros Crawfish Boil: June 4th, 2018

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Start your morning with notes and news from the Astros and around the league

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past week, the vitriol, contention, and general unpleasantness in the Astros community has been unnecessarily high. Because of all the recent unpleasantness, I thought I’d rattle off some stats:

  • The Astros are 37-24 and on pace to win 98 games.
  • The Astros have the #1 run differential in baseball, at +122 through 61 games. Yes, the Astros are outscoring their opponents by 2 full runs per game on average.
  • According to ESPN’s pythagorean expectation, the Astros should have the best record in the league at 45-16. Baseball Prospectus’s 3rd Order Wins come to the same conclusion.
  • After a rocky start, the Astros offense is back into the top 5 in wRC+ (107), runs (301), and OBP (.327).
  • The Astros pitching staff is #1 in ERA/FIP/xFIP, K/9, and BB/9.
  • The Astros starting rotation has accounted for 2 more wins than the next closest teams according to Fangraph’s WAR (9.9 to 7).
  • The bullpen is fourth in ERA (3.13), first in FIP (2.91), and first xFIP (3.11). The staff also has the league’s lowest BB/9 rate (2.36) by far. That is on pace to be the lowest mark for a bullpen since the 2014 Oakland Athletics.

Clearly, this is a damn good baseball team. I don’t know if its lingering bitterness over the Rockets unfair exit (which is valid - Rockets win easily with CP3 and maybe still win without blatant ref interference), but Astros fans bickering over whether or not the reigning World Series champion’s really good bullpen has a truly “elite” Cooperstown-bound closer seems like a complete non-issue to me.

This team lost 100 games in three straight seasons and this is the stuff we complain about? Yes, the bullpen has crumbled at inopportune times, but this is a good pen and things like these smooth themselves out over a full season. Remember when the Rangers won an unfathomable amount of one run games and finished the season with 95 wins despite a +8 run differential? It was infuriating to watch a mediocre team clearly over-perform, but those who held true to the sentiment that the Rangers were wildly overrated were ultimately rewarded in the end.

The Rangers were quickly thrashed and exposed in the post-season, and with them all the “clutch team of destiny” truthers that ran their mouth all season. Point is, true talent level always eventually wins out, and the Astros are a really damn good baseball team. Possibly the best in baseball, and possibly one of the best ever. Elite “closer” or not.

So chill out and let the Astros be what they are meant to be - winning baseball and the perfect summer nightcap. We are too far away from the trade deadline for all of the over-the-top and outlandish debates, anyway.

With that out of the way, here is your regularly scheduled boil.

Astros Notes and News

Around the League

Highlights of the Weekend

A-Rod and J.D. Davis play catch

Twins’ Eddie Rosario hits three homers, including a walk-off

Braves’ Charlie Culberson walks it off against the Nationals

Jake Arrieta snaps Phillies 22-inning scoreless streak with a homer to left

Eric Young Jr. avoids a tag as long as possible by jogging backwards toward home plate

Rangers-Angels brawl (always fun to see two of the enemies taking each other out)