Lately, there’s not a single thing that seems impossible for the Astros’ lineup. No matter who you are, they will bring you down to pieces. No matter if you score first, they will come back. No matter if your name is Trevor Bauer, Blake Snell, or even former teammate Dallas Keuchel, they will tear you apart.
Even though their offense has had its downs throughout the season, which is completely normal, it’s been everything you could ask for in a lineup. From June 13 to July 6, a span in which Houston won 17 out of 22 games, the Astros posted a .285/.375/.469 slash line. There are many single players that can’t even match those numbers, so imagine how powerful is an entire team that can put those stats as a whole.
The best of this lineup is how complete it is. I mean, you can have two great hitters and still have a pretty bad batting order. But the Astros can hurt you in more ways than one, with more players than one or two — even having their star third baseman Alex Bregman on the injured list since June 16 and after losing a player such as George Springer to another team in free agency. Everyone can hit a home run or drive in the winning run.
To give you a reference of what I’m saying, the Astros are one of four teams to have six players with 10 or more home runs in 2021, along with the Red Sox, Cubs, and Blue Jays. And that list should welcome Bregman and Michael Brantley sooner than later. Regarding doubles, only the Red Sox (6) have more players with 15+ two-baggers than the Astros (5), who are tied with the Jays. As if it wasn’t enough, Houston is the only team with eight hitters with at least 30 ribbies in ’21.
Through Tuesday, the ‘Stros were first in hits (812), seventh in home runs (111), first in runs scored (483), fourth in walks (330), first in batting average (.274), first in OBP (.350), second in slugging percentage (.445), and first in OPS (.795).
But to get those kind of statistics, you need to be efficient. You need to put the ball in play, get on-base, avoid strikeouts, and a couple of things more.
And that’s the key for the Astros, who have been blanked just once this regular season (87 games). They hardly ever fail. They are efficient and loaded with professional hitters that know how to do their jobs and even some of them left a bad 2020 behind — like Yuli Gurriel and José Altuve, for example.
Just take a look at these rankings (through Tuesday), according to FanGraphs…
· BB%: 9.8% (8th)
· K%: 18.7% (1st)
· % of swings at pitches out of the zone: 28.1% (4th)
· Contact%: 81.1% (1st)
· SwStr%: 8.4% (1st)
On Wednesday night, the Astros defeated the Athletics to get their sixth consecutive win. They haven’t lost in July and have won 27 of their last 36 contests (75%). There’s still work to do as they need to get Bregman and Aledmys Díaz back, but they will get to the All-Star break with a good division lead, a comfortable position, and ready to keep smashing in the second half of the campaign.