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Astros Are Scary Good


The Houston Astros are among a 4 teams in a virtual tie for the best record in Major League Baseball. The three other teams are San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, and the LA Dodgers.
Now that we are through the All-Star break, we can really draw conclusions on the season statistics without worrying about small sample sizes.

Ultimately winning baseball games is scoring more runs than your opponent. The Astros are in a league of their own in this category. Their season total run differential is +140 a the time of writing this article. Only two other teams have eclipsed the 100 mark in run differential this season and those are the Giants (+103) and the Dodgers (+119). While Boston has been able to keep pace in the win column, it looks to be doing so by winning mostly close games. Boston’s season run differential is only +62. Winning close games is great but it leaves very little room for error.

The Red Sox offence is in line with the other three teams at the top of the standings. What hurts their run differential is their defense. Astros, Giants and Dodgers have allowed 343, 315, and 314 runs respectively, so far this season. The Red Sox have allowed 381. That is the most runs allowed by the top ten teams in the MLB. I expect Boston to make a pitching trade this month or fall out of the playoffs.

The prolific offence of the Astros has been talked about for most of the season. Also well documented is their quality but not stellar starting pitching and their mediocre bullpen. Bullpen can be improved by the shortening the rotation in the postseason or of course by trade. I do not see a ace starter being a legit trade target for the Astros this season.
But here is something that is not talked about much. So far this season, the Astros have gotten up for competition. Some players like the big stage. All teams have players they think are like that. But here are some real numbers. The Astros are 40-19 against teams with records over .500. That is an amazing stat. Against top level competition the Astros are at their best. While this does mean that the Astros are 13-14 against teams with a losing record, and that is not what you want to see from a great team. The fact is, no teams with losing records are going to be in the playoffs.
So far this season the Astros have shown they can handle the best teams in the MLB. Trades will probably make some of those teams stronger come August. But the Astros have to have a lot of confidence going into the second half of the season.

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