To say this season has been interesting would be a major understatement. This statement is true across MLB, but perhaps it is truest for the Houston Astros. It has been a season of ups and downs, injuries and breakouts, and plenty of excitement. They have had long losing streaks and winning streaks, and through it all, they are 17-14, second in the AL West. This is the Astros 2020 midseason report.
The Astros offense has been quite the enigma. They lead the AL in runs despite major inconsistencies and injuries from their biggest stars. Jose Altuve and George Springer are hitting a combined .200 with 46 strikeouts. Alex Bregman started off rough but had managed to turn it around before a hamstring strain. Speaking of a hamstring strain, injuries have unfortunately been a big storyline for Houston. Springer has missed games for various minor injuries. Michael Brantley has also spent time on the Injured List due to a quad injury. Of course, there is the bad luck Yordan Alvarez faced. Alvarez missed the beginning of the season due to a positive COVID-19 test. When he finally returned, he played just two games before undergoing season-ending knee surgery.
The injuries and inconsistencies paint a very bleak picture, but there have been some breakout players who have kept this lineup afloat. Kyle Tucker started slow, but he has really shown why he was a big-time prospect. In the past 13 games, he is hitting .350 with a double, four triples, and four home runs. He has driven in 14 runs in that span.
Perhaps the biggest surprise has been the 34-year-old Martin Maldonado. He is third on the team with 17 RBI and he is getting on base at a .375 clip, the highest rate on the team.
Injuries have been an even bigger issue for the pitching staff as a whole. The bullpen is made almost entirely of rookies because of numerous veteran injuries. Closer Roberto Osuna pitched four and one-third innings before an elbow injury ended his season. The biggest injury, though, was to future Hall of Famer, Justin Verlander. After just one start, a forearm strain put him on the shelf. The initial report was that his season was over, and while he has denied that, he has not progressed as fast as he wanted to.
Once again, there have been breakout players who have filled in admirably. Coming into the season, Framber Valdez was a bottom of the rotation guy. There were a lot of question marks surrounding him. He has become one of the best starters in the AL. The 26-year-old has posted a 2.35 ERA in 38 and one-third innings, giving up just two home runs in those innings.
One of the bullpen breakouts has been lefty Blake Taylor. The rookie has given up just two runs in 14 innings. Another outstanding rookie has been Andre Scrubb, who has given up just one run in 13 innings. In their 27 combined innings, they have given up only one home run. With all the injuries on every part of the team, the Astros 2020 midseason report could have been so disappointing. But through all these injuries, some stars have emerged and saved the season.
Outlook Moving Forward
Through the ups and downs, the 2020 Astros have a good team. They are a better team than their 17-14 record suggests. They enter Friday four and a half games back of the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics. While they don’t need to win the division, as the second-place teams advance to the postseason this year, they will still make a run for the division crown. As long as Hurricane Laura doesn’t further harm Houston’s homestand, they have a critical series against the A’s beginning Friday.
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