Lance Zierlein: The Astros aren't hitting. So what?
When you do a sports talk show, sometimes you watch sports differently than the average fan. You have to. Oh, wait... I'm not saying we are better than other fans or that we have some elevated sense of understanding of the sport that your average fan can't possibly have. No, that's not what I'm saying at all.
What I'm saying is that when writers and talkers watch sports, we are often trying to put pieces together to fit them into a narrative that we can talk about in print or on the air. Sometimes these topics are timely, thought-provoking, and even illuminating. At other times, we may be grasping at straws or extrapolating when the sample size doesn't call for it.
And let's be clear. I'm not talking about coming up with click-bait topics or intentional hot takes to garner attention and agitation from the reader/listener. There are plenty of people who do that, but I don't see that at this radio station (ESPN 97.5). This morning John Granato and I got into a debate that will eventually end in either a foreshadowing or a non-issue category.
Worried about the bats?
John Granato is worried about the bats and after the last six games, maybe he should be. The Astros have scored 12 runs over their last six and have been wildly unimpressive at the plate with a complete inability to break out or even string hits together. Me? I’m much less worried because history is on my side.
At the top of the lineup, George Springer is hitting .186 and Alex Bregman is hitting .186. If you don’t set the table, it’s hard to eat. It’s easy to get worked up by a bad six game run on the offensive side - especially on the heels of the World Series run where the offense carried the team. But why worry when this is always what happens with Springer and Bregman? Here are their career splits in March/April:
These guys never get off to a great start, check that, an average start at the beginning of the season. The 2018 version of who they are at the plate in in April is who they usually are to start the seasons. The good news is that things change for these guys in May:
Now, if Springer and Bregman keep slumping through May, then I’ll write a different column. However, they are in the early stages of their prime. They aren’t likely to have bad seasons. Bad months? Yes, that’s actually the norm in baseball, but a bad season is unlikely. And guess what? They are playing .750 baseball despite a lack of consistent hitting in half of those 12 games.
Every MLB team has concerns no matter how great they may be or appear to be. For the Astros, I don’t see it as the hitting. They are just going through an early season lull. Instead, I am concerned about Dallas Keuchel and his inability to get back to his pre-All star form last season. I’m worried about Ken Giles and whether or not Brad Peacock can be the full-time closer. There are things on my mind and the hitting health of Springer and Bregman is not one of them.