How Astros league-leading offensive outburst has definitely not gone as planned

It all comes down to this for the Houston Astros. With just four series left in the regular season, the Astros now have the firepower to win games with their bats regularly. Now if they can just get the pitching to give them enough to get by.

The Astros have been in the Top 10 in team ERA all season, but they've been middle of the pack when it comes to the offense. Specifically, their team OPS. But how quickly things can change.

Many Astros fans would be surprised to learn that the Astros are No. 1 overall in team OPS (.880) over the last 30 days. They're also No.1 over the last 15 days. How about slugging? No. 1 overall (.514) over the last 15 days.

It took the club a while to get things going, dealing with injuries to Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve for big chunks of the year. But with their full assortment of weapons available to them, no team is swinging the bats better than the 'Stros currently.

So why aren't they winning more games? It all comes down to consistency. When the Astros explode for 12 runs one day, and follow that up with only 2 runs the following day, they're likely going 1-1, despite scoring 14 runs over two games.

And if you have been watching this season, you know what we're talking about. When you see the Astros drop 10 runs on an opponent, you start wishing for them to save some runs for the next game. Because you've seen how this usually plays out for this year's team.

The other factor that's holding the Astros back is the pitching over the last month. While the team ERA has been Top 10 all year, they've fallen to 20th over the last 30 days. So as the offense climbs to the best in the majors, the pitching falls off to the bottom half of the league.

Monday's loss to the Orioles is a great example. The offense comes storming back and takes a 7-5 lead, only for Ryan Pressly to blow the save, losing 8-7.

Be sure to check out the video above as we discuss Houston's ascending offense, and try to figure out how they can get the pitching back on track.

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The Texans host the Steelers at NRG this Sunday. Composite Getty Image.

What: Texans vs. Steelers

When: 10/1 12pm CST kickoff

Where: Houston, TX NRG Stadium

TV/Radio: KHOU-TV, KILT-Radio

Betting Lines: Steelers -2.5 (-120), O/U 42 (-110) *As of this writing

The Watt Brother Bowl takes place on Sunday. I'm calling it that because the Texans are honoring their all-time great J.J. while they're playing his younger brother and current hell raising edge rusher for the Steelers T.J. The Steelers have won four of the last five matchups vs. the Texans by an average score of 28-17. The biggest difference is that the Steelers have a second year starter at quarterback in Kenny Pickett, and the Texans have a rookie in C.J. Stroud. When you look at the two quarterbacks, both organizations have full faith in each guy. Both teams have tried to build a defense to help their young signal callers. Both are still trying to surround their franchise guys with weapons.

When the Steelers have the ball: Here's a game where Will Anderson Jr can make headway as a proven EDGE. Stacking consistent performances together and helping your team win games by making winning plays. It helps that Pickett has tiny hands. This was a knock on him during draft season last year. Hand size for a quarterback impacts grip. That can not only impact accuracy, but it could make it easier to strip the ball from him.

While he doesn't have the weapons to torch this defense, Pickett does hand the ball off to Najee Harris who's more than capable. Averaging only 67 yards rushing as a team can't be taken lightly. Denzel Perryman is expected to miss the game Sunday, so hopefully that won't help jumpstart the Steelers' run game. The Texans defense will have to key in on the run, given that they average giving up 117 a game on the ground. Those aforementioned weapons may not be scary, but the injuries to the defensive backs has hurt. Tavierre Thomas is expected to miss the game recovering from hand surgery. Jimmie Ward coming back last week showed what happens when they have a top safety back there, especially when the pass rush is turning up. Hopefully, the Texans can capitalize again this week, with safety Jalen Pitre expected to return to action.

When the Texans have the ball: Good luck stopping Tank Dell and Stroud! These guys have already established themselves as a formidable duo three games into their careers. A great way to get that connection going is to pound the rock. The Steelers are giving up over 150 yards on the ground per game so far this season. That's also a good way to keep T.J. at bay while J.J. watches. With Laremy Tunsil and Josh Jones both expected to miss the game, here are the offensive line starters: Austin Deculus, Kendrick Green, Jarrett Patterson, Shaq Mason, and George Fant.

Making the younger Watt brother slow down a bit instead of going balls to the wall after Stroud because a run could be coming will help the pass game tremendously. Stroud will have to continue to make quick decisions, but even quicker this game. I wouldn't be surprised to see his first pick of his career here, given the pressure he's most likely to be under. Especially when your offensive line starters were mostly all backups to begin this season.

Outcome: I failed to place a money line bet on the Texans last week because the game started and the live bet wasn't as profitable. I wanted to take a chance on them given their recent record against the Jags. Looking at their last five vs. the Steelers, one would say why make that bet this week? It's because I believe in Stroud more than I believe in Pickett. While T.J. Watt is a different kind of monster, Will Anderson Jr is on his way to becoming something special. Texans win/cover, and hit the over, but barely: Texans 24, Steelers 20.

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