Astros Pitching Continues to Dominate in May

Astros Pitching Continues to Dominate in May

The Houston Astros finished the month of May with a record of 36-22 in first place in the American League West Division, one game ahead of the Seattle Mariners. The month of May was a difficult one, opening against the New York Yankees and finishing with the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, the two strongest teams in the major leagues. Their record in May was 16-12 with 5 of the losses to the Yankees.

The Astros success this season has been largely due to their incredible starting pitching. None of the five pitchers in the starting rotation have missed a start and they have combined for an ERA of 2.54, by far the best in MLB. Three of the top four pitchers in the AL based on ERA are Astros, Justin Verlander (1.11), Gerrit Cole (2.05) and Charlie Morton (2.25). Cole pitched one of the best games ever by an Astro pitcher, a one-hitter with 16 strikeouts against Arizona.

The relief pitchers have suffered a few bumps but, overall, the bullpen’s ERA of 3.04 is the 4th best in the major leagues.

While the pitching has exceeded expectations, the hitting has not. A repeat of last year’s average of 5.53 runs scored per game was not likely but the Astros are averaging 4.96 runs per game while 5 teams, led by the Yankees at 5.64 are scoring over 5 runs per game. The Astros are one of the top 6 or 7 offensive teams in MLB but not at the top as they were in 2017.

The only Astro player who is having a career year is backup catcher, Max Stassi, .307, 5 home runs. Even reigning MVP, Jose Altuve struggled in May as his batting average dropped below .310 briefly before he had a record setting stretch of 10 hits in 10 at-bats raising his average back to the .330s. Altuve, (.338) and Stassi are the only two Astros hitting over .300. George Springer (11 HR) and Yuli Gurriel are batting in the .280s but the rest of the Astro batters are in the mid to low .200s. Springer had a game in May with 6 hits in 6 at-bats. Carlos Correa batted .188 in May, lowering his average to .261 for the season.

The Red Sox, Yankees and Astros have clearly established themselves as the three strongest MLB teams in the first one third of the season. This is not likely to change. The Astros pitching may not remain as strong as it has been for the rest of the season, but it should still be the best. The hitting is expected to improve in the summer months and this combination should be enough to hold off Seattle and the Los Angeles Angels to win the AL West Division.

Bill Gilbert

6/4/2018.

 

Addendum:

Astros Starting Pitcher Stats

Through June 4, 2018

Courtesy of Baseball Reference.Com

2018 Astro Starters G GS W L ERA IP ER H HR BB SO
Justin Verlander 13 13 7 2 1.24 87.1 12 46 5 17 104
Gerrit Cole 12 12 6 1 2.20 81.2 20 48 9 20 116
Charlie Morton 12 12 7 1 2.84 73.0 23 56 11 23 92
Lance McCullers, Jr. 12 12 7 3 3.89 69.1 30 54 6 27 72
Dallas Keuchel 12 12 3 7 3.65 74.0 30 70 9 21 60

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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