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The Astros are 4-3. But lucky to be there.

It’s only seven games out of 162. But if both hitting and pitching continue on this pace the Astros won’t have a winning season.

MLB: Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners
Astros relief pitcher Pedro Baez (42) hands the ball over to manager Dusty Baker (left) during the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the Astros are 4-3. Not bad for a road record.

But...

There has been a palpable and disappointing under-achievement by many key players, especially on the offensive side, that makes 4-3 seem rather lucky right now. Sure, it’s only seven games. And surely the many underperformers on the team right now will regress upward to normal performance levels.

We should expect that to happen.

But...

Right now almost the whole batting order is in a slump.

Jose Altuve......................125 BA

Kyle Tucker......................111 BA

Yordan Alvarez................143 BA

Aledmys Diaz..................150 BA

Yuli Gurriel......................250 BA

Catchers.........................000 BA

The only hitters in the Houston lineup batting above league average are Alex Bregman, wRC+ 141, Jeremy Pena, wRC+ 131, and Michael Brantley, wRC+ 115. The Astros’ best hitter ranks 73rd in the league in wRC+ among batters with 20 or more PAs.

That’s behind former Astros Teoscar Hernandez (182), George Springer (169) and ...wait for it...Myles Straw. (153)

I don’t mind losing out on Straw so much. Because the two best hitters on the team right now are the center field platoon duo, Jose Siri and Chas McCormick. Siri has a 256 wRC+ in 16 PAs, and McCormick a 182 in 19 PAs.

After, yes, of course, only seven games, the Astros offense has been a dumpster fire. As it was in Spring Training.

As a team, the Astros sport an 89 wRC+ (100 being average), rated 22nd in MLB.

Of course, this should improve. This kind of slump can and does happen to any and every team in any given seven-game stretch. It’s always more disconcerting when it happens at the beginning of the season. The Astros BABIP is .229, 29th in the league. Luck should turn.

But...

The pitching you say.

Yes, the Astros are eighth in the league in ERA at 3.08. And that’s where the luck comes in. Because using advanced stats, the Astros staff is also a bottom dweller.

FIP.......4.02 18th in MLB

xFIP.....4.53 27th in MLB

SIERA..4.15 28th in MLB

WHIP...1.34 21st in MLB

One silver lining in these advanced stats. The Astros have allowed only five homers, 5th in the league. With a 33.7% hard-hit percentage, third in the league, that may be sustainable. The Astros pitching has mostly allowed soft to medium contact so far.

On the other hand how sustainable is a LOB% of 77.8%, 7th in the league? Can the whole staff continue to Framberize?

Lingering doubts that we hope dissipate soon.

  • Is Jose Altuve over the hill or perhaps confused about his approach at the plate?
  • Has the league figured out Kyle Tucker?
  • Does Jake Odorrizzi have the ability to put batters away or will he just keep throwing batting practice?
  • Can Ryan Pressly be effective with the reduced velocity that he has shown so far?
  • When will Lance McCullers return? (It can’t be too soon)
  • After losing George Springer and Carlos Correa in each of the last two seasons, is there a leadership/chemistry void?

Not counted as a doubt. Pedro Baez is finished. $12 million. Easy come easy go.

The Astros have scored 25 runs and allowed 25 runs. Twenty-five runs allowed at this point seems pretty lucky. That’s a recipe for .500 ball at best. We’re not used to that here in Astroland.

Hitting should return. Pitching may regress.

Let’s hope the current start is just an early slump and not a harbinger of things to come.