Bill Gilbert: Astros Report, May 2012

Bill Gilbert, Former Leader of the Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR and now active as a member of the Rogers Hornsby SABR Chapter in Austin – and a Dedicated Astros Fan Forever.

Bill Gilbert writes some of the best pre and post season analysis material each season on the Houston Astros – and then he tops these off with an in-motion look at how the club does each month as the year plays out. To our benefit, here is Bill Gilbert’s report for May 2012. The Pecan Park Eagle is happy to share this material with all of you. – Enjoy:

Astros End May on a Low Note

By Bill Gilbert

          The only good thing I can think of about the Astros moving to the American League next year is that they won’t have to go to Coors Field every year.  The Astros started a month-ending road trip on May 23 with a record in May of 12-9 and a good chance to have their first winning month since September 2010. The starting pitchers had the lowest ERA in the league for the month and Bud Norris was a leading candidate to be pitcher of the month with a 4-0 record and a 0.37 ERA.  The road trip started out impressively with a win against Clayton Kershaw before the team lost the next two games to the Dodgers.

The problems really started when the team moved on to Denver for a 4-game series against the slumping Rockies.  The Astros had won all nine games in May when they scored at least 4 runs.  In the Colorado series, the Astros scored at least 5 runs in each game but lost all four.  The Astro pitchers were torched, especially Norris who was lit up for 7 hits and 9 runs in less than 2 innings.  The Astros record at Coors over the years is 27-50.

The Astros biggest problem is their inability to play well on the road. Their 6-19 record is the worst in the Major Leagues. At home, they were a respectable 16-10 through May.

The Astros rank near the middle of the pack in both hitting and pitching. They have scored 4.16 runs per game and allowed 4.35. The pitchers ERA at the end of May was 3.94, essentially the same as the league average of 3.89.

Individually, there were a few bright spots. Carlos Lee hit .315 for the month and Chris Johnson hit .303 with 5 home runs. Jed Lowery led the team with 6 homers in May. Jose Altuve continued hitting well with an average of .316 for the season. On the mound, Wandy Rodriguez was 2-2 with an ERA of 3.07.  Norris was 4-1 with an ERA of 3.62.  Brett Myers converted 7 of 8 save opportunities and relievers Brandon Lyon, Wesley Wright and Wilton Lopez all had ERAs under 2.00.

The top two Astro minor league clubs, Oklahoma City (AAA) and Corpus Christi (AA) were not as successful in May as they were in April posting records of 15-14 and 13-15.

The month of June is critical for the team.  If they play like they did before the Colorado trip, they should compete with the teams in the middle of the Central Division. If not, they will find themselves bottom-feeding with the Chicago Cubs.

Bill Gilbert



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