By: ASHLEY HOPKINS
The Houston Astros ended the 2019 regular season with outstanding stats, leading the AL West division with 107 wins and only 55 losses. During the postseason, they won the AL Division Series, AL Championship Series, and made it to the World Series, but lost in the 7th game to the Washington Nationals. The 2019 roster had some of the top ranked players of the year, including Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and Silver Slugger award winners George Springer and Alex Bregman. The Astros were expected to come into this year’s season at the same level or better than they were at the end of the 2019 season, but they are far from it.
The 2020 season began with the well known 2017 World Series cheating scandal that surfaced back in January, when the allegations were investigated and found to be true.
Spring training was off to a rocky start because of conferences, reporters, and other players having ill feelings towards the team. “What happened with them just hasn’t really been front and center… but I dont think players have forgotten about it at all…” says Trevour Bauer in an article he wrote for The Players Tribune. He also goes on to say that “There are certain players who feel very strongly about it,” but he doesn’t think it’s right for pitchers to be intentionally hitting Astros players at the plate, although some pitchers don’t agree.
Joe Kelly of the Los Angeles Dodgers was suspended 5 games for purposely throwing at both Bregman and Correa and later taunting Correa, leading to a bench clearing incident. During spring training the Astros were hit by 7 pitches in the span of 3 games. The Astros players have been hit a total of 14 times by pitches so far this season, with 4 of those being Springer.
Underwhelming stats have also played a huge role in the Astros mediocre season so far. Correa, Bergman, Altuve, and Springer went from above average stats down to average. All 4 players were well known for their power at the plate, but this year they started the season in a slump. Altuve went from a .353 OBP to a .276. Bergman, who led the team in home runs, went from 41 down to 4. Springer was second on the team for most home runs with 39 and also had an impressive batting average of .292, but is now batting .209 with 5 home runs. Correa went from a .568 slugging average to just .414. The team seen at the plate this year is far different from the team seen at the end of the 2019 post season.
So far this season they have 19 wins and 14 losses, which puts them 3rd place in the AL West. They’re projected to make it to the playoffs, but only have a 12.9% chance of winning the World Series.