I am in a good mood, baseball wise. The Astros took a series against a decent Royals teams (seriously, it was the first series win against a team anywhere near .500. More on that later). Reid Ryan is the president. The snow cone guy got fired, relatively quickly. All around a good week.
Because of that, this week in Astros stats will definitely have a rose tinted view of things.
- The Astros are really really bad. Historically so, in fact. (that didn't last long). They, of course, are 14-33, on pace for only 48 wins. They have been outscored by 89 runs. If there is one reason for optimism, however, its in how they have played against bad to mediocre teams. They are an abysmal 5-27 against teams over .500 on the season. Against these good teams, they have simply been outclassed, being outscored by 102 runs. However, against their fellow dregs, they are 9-6, and have outscored those opponents by 13 runs. Unfortunately, the 32 games against teams greater than .500 are the second most in the league, behind only Toronto. Miami, in contrast, has built their league worst record with equally poor play against good and bad teams. They are 3-16 against teams at .500 or better and 10-18 against those below. Based on Baseball Reference's strength of schedule rankings, the Astros are tied for the 2nd toughest schedule in baseball, and Miami is tied for the second easiest. The schedule gets slightly easier from here, so hopefully they can continue their good play against the poor teams, and avoid ignominy.
- I don't know about you, but I still get a sense of dread when In Vino Veras comes in to close out a ballgame. But maybe I shouldn't. Since his implosion in Anaheim in his first save chance on April 13, he has appeared in 14 games, allowing runs in only one of them, for a stellar 1.26 ERA. Looking under the hood provides any more reason for optimism. He is currently sporting a 3.32 BB/9, which would be the lowest in his career by nearly a point. His first strike percentage is at 60.8%, which is far and away higher than its ever been, and is 8 percentage points higher than his career average. His overall rate of pitches in the zone is also at or near his all-time high. If he can maintain this improved command, he could actually be a very effective closer. Now, about that 8th inning....
- Robbie Grossman is having a very strange season. He was called up on April 24, and went 2-5 with two doubles (matching his extra base hit total at OK City for the season). He then went 0-17 with one walk over the next 4 games at Boston. Since that series, he has gotten on base at a .378 clip. But he has shown almost no power, tacking on only 3 more doubles, bringing his slugging over that time to a paltry .284. On the season his OBP/SLG is .327/.260. If he maintains this pace all season, he would wind up with an on base percentage over .350 and a slugging percentage under .300, which would be only the 23rd such season in baseball history, and the 3rd since World War II. However, I think Grossman has much more power than that, and will start to show it soon. I don't think he will make that kind of history.