Oh where oh where has our offense gone?

added 4/24/2002 by Raymond Desadier
Sure the Astros starting pitching has been less than expected and the bullpen has been even more disappointing, but the offense has also done its’ share to contribute to the losing. From top to bottom, this lineup has been just offensive!

Leading off: Craig Biggio with a strikeout percentage (.264) higher than his poor batting average (.250). Even when he does reach, he is followed by Brad Ausmus who, despite starting the season strong in the hit column, has protected his reputation as Double-Play Brad with a 30 % double play percentage.

Jeff Bagwell’s batting average has been good but his home run numbers are down. His low(er) RBI figures can be attributed to the high walk numbers – the opposition refuses to let him beat them. Lance Berkman leads the league in home runs, but perhaps going for the long ball has contributed to his disappointing .254 batting average.

Richard Hidalgo still thinks he can pull everything which helps explain his .253 batting average and Brad Ausmus impersonation (20% DPP). Sure he has 17 RBIs, but he could and should have much more. Daryle Ward, who should be batting fifth, is in the top 10 in the NL with a .352 average but has only 9 RBI’s since most rallies are snuffed before he bats or he is pitched around to face the 7-8 hitter.

Yes, 7 and 8 – the part of the game where you go get some more beer and chips, or go to the bathroom because of the beer and chips. No need to stay around and see Morgan Ensberg, the third baseman who hits like a shortstop and probably half the reason why Adam Everett was demoted. Now that Everett is in New Orleans, Ensberg is followed by Julio Lugo who jumps back from pitches on the inner half of the plate, yet still tries to reach pitches a foot outside! Has anyone considered giving him an eye examination?

What is sad about Everett is that it’s not that he can’t hit, it’s that he doesn’t hit. The guy has a good stance, swing and eye and is great at making contact (as evidenced by his team lowest .081 strikeout pct.), but he just isn’t aggressive enough. No one told him that when you get a good pitch YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO SWING AT IT! And let’s face it; there are not a lot of good examples in this lineup to learn that from.

Such a poor performance and their solution is always the same: “oh well, things will come around.” In the meantime, we just have to deal with disappointment and pray continuously that the Cardinals will lose.

I tip my cap

If it were left up to me, T.J. Mathews would have been released before spring training ended. Here we are nearly a month into the season, and Mr. Mathews has a very tidy 0.79 ERA over 11 1/3 IP and has stranded all 5 runners he has inherited. Perhaps there were details about his spring performance that I was unaware of, being on the outside looking in as I am, but regardless I admit that I was wrong and congratulate T.J. on his performance thus far.

I only ask two things of him: 1) keep up the good work, and 2) whatever it was you were “working on” in spring training – don’t do that anymore :)!


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