Rockies 3, Astros 2: Game 18 review

I didn’t see Geoff Blum’s alleged double that got called a flyout. Even so, I doubt it was a game-changer. The Astros allowed 15 baserunners Saturday night, so they were fortunate to hold the Rockies to 3 runs.

It is funny how a poor team’s weaknesses get exposed so quickly once the season starts. Here’s a list of the Astros’ weaknesses:

1. Getting on base: I love Michael Bourn and think he will be a good player, and they can’t live without him — they’re barely living with him — in center field. But his OBP is .307, which admittedly is better than they were getting out of the leadoff spot last year, but still is a number that needs to rise 50 points.

2. Defense: Wow, this is an awful defensive team. Here are some defensive categories and the Astros’ ranking in them:

  • fewest runs allowed, 84, tied for 11th in the league.
  • fewest hits allowed, 181, 15th.
  • fewest hits minus home runs, 157, 14th.
  • fewest home runs allowed, 24, 15th.
  • batting average against, .288, 14th.
  • OBP against, .338, 13th.
  • SLG against, .468, 16th.
  • SLGBIP against (slugging percentage on balls in play), .410, 13th.

Here’s a table showing NL pitching as batting statistics, thanks to Baseball-Reference.com with a few tweaks on my part.

But this is the gamble that Ed Wade took — that the offense would be strong enough to overcome some weak defense, and that the division would be weak enough that he might luck into a playoff spot. And so far the gamble is not paying off — he may well have already lost it. The offense is not scoring with any consistency, and the division is turning out to have a few good teams in it so far. Baseball Prospectus has the Astros’ chances of making the playoffs at less than 6 percent, already.

3. Offense: Cecil Cooper is tinkering with the 3-4-5 guys. I honestly have no idea why this would change anything. What I would do: Pull a page from the Cardinals’ book and hit the pitcher eighth. Move Bourn or Matsui into the 9 hole, and bat Pence second. Hit Towles sixth — it looks like he can actually hit. So 1-9 the order would look like this: Bourn-Pence-Berkman-Lee-Tejada-Towles-third baseman-pitcher-Matsui. Or you could hit Towles second. So far he looks like a poor man’s Dwight Evans, and Dwight Evans would be in the Hall of Fame if it were up to me.

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