How has the season gone so far?
Right, halfway through the season and it’s time to take stock of where our Astros are.
The facts: we’re top of the division; our starting pitching rotation is historic; our bullpen is generally very solid; our hitters have contributed to one of the best run differentials at this stage in decades. Sounds like all sunshine and rainbows, no? On the other hand: the Mariners and A’s are close. Dallas Keuchel has struggled a bit with consistency; George Springer’s had a slump. The difficulty at present is assessing what our targets really are, contrasted against the huge expectation of being world champions. We’ve become so accustomed to successes of late that minor setbacks appear magnified. The truth is we’re in an excellent position again and we shouldn’t worry about other teams in the division – if we keep doing what we are, we’ll win the West.
8.5/10 (hey, Never Settle…)
Stars and flops
Gerrit Cole – in the time it took you to read this sentence, Cole struck out 4 more hitters. A phenomenal start to life as an Astro, dominant.
Justin Verlander – the great man, we’re privileged to watch the kind of season he’s putting together. Will be in the Cy Young debate this year.
Charlie Morton – (sensing a theme?) the renaissance man of baseball just gets better and better. If our pitching coach Brent Strom was in the medical business he’d have ended illness and disease worldwide. Magician.
Alex Bregman – so reliable at 3B, capable of spectacular plays from outside the foul line over and over, plus now truly becoming a clutch-hitter and multiple game-winner with the bat. Superstar in the making.
Evan Gattis – after a poor start to the year ‘El Oso Blanco’ destroyed June. He’s back.
Oh, and Jose Altuve – casually over 100 hits (again). Future hall of famer. Guaranteed.
Flops (just to underline I am not calling them this, they’re just at the other end of the spectrum!)
Dallas Keuchel – it hasn’t been his season so far, with big struggles in the 1st inning of appearances, a lack of consistent performances in the early weeks and some bad luck too. A post-loss interview hinting at throwing a teammate under the bus didn’t go down well, either.
Marwin Gonzalez – harsh, as he’s following up a career year, but as expected he’s not hit the same heights as 2017. Hopefully there’s more to come.
Probably Bregman’s walk-off hits and homers, though I still love his pop-up walk-off back in early April vs the Padres as it humiliated Eric Hosmer. And you’d pay to see that.
Revised Win-Loss Prediction:
I’ll be honest I can’t recall my pre-season one(!) but I still think we’ll fall just short of last year’s win number and finish on 100-62, though I can see 99-63 as well. Anything less would be a disappointment.
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