Posts Tagged ‘Pitching Carries Astros in April’

Bill Gilbert: Pitching Carries Astros in April

May 3, 2018

SABR Analyst and Pecan Park Eagle Contributor Bill Gilbert sums up the 2017 AL Champion Astros Repeat Run through the early part of  2018.

Pitching Carries Astros in April

By Bill Gilbert

The Houston Astros compiled a won-loss record of 20-10 in April to lead the American League West Division by 2 1/2 games over the Seattle Mariners and 3 games over the Los Angeles Angels.  The starting pitching was superb. The five pitchers in the rotation each started 6 games and they collectively recorded an ERA of 2.44, by far the best in the major leagues. Three pitchers with ERA’s under 2.00 led the way, Justin Verlander (1.36), Charlie Morton (1.72) and Gerrit Cole (1.73). Cole set a team strikeout record for April with 61. The bullpen also performed well with an ERA of 2.76. Most encouraging was the rebound of closer, Brian Giles, after a poor World Series. In April, Giles converted all three save opportunities and allowed a total of only two runs in his eleven games.

The Houston offense started slowly but by the end of the month the team ranked well above the major league average in most offensive categories.   In 2017, the Astros averaged scoring 5.53 runs per game. In April 2018, they averaged 4.97 compared to the MLB average o 4.46. Six teams averaged over 5 runs per game in April led by the New York Yankees at 5.86.

Jose Altuve batted .347 and Carlos Correa hit .330 in April but the rest of the team hit in the low to mid .200’s. George Springer and Josh Reddick each hit 6 home runs.

April was the first month in the history of major league baseball when strikeouts (6,656 ) outnumbered hits (6,360). This is a continuation of a trend that may not be good for baseball in the long run. Astros pitchers were a major factor in this imbalance by striking out 316 opposing batters while allowing only 196 hits.

The New York Yankees bring their 9-game winning streak to Houston to open the month of May for a four game series with the Astros. matching the best hitting team in baseball with the best pitching team. It could happen again in the post-season.

As expected, teams in the AL West have improved, especially the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels, but the Astros should prevail barring major injuries.

Bill Gilbert

5/2/2018

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle