Will the Astros Not Landing a Bat at the Deadline Cost Them?

Alex Bregman has been fantastic this year, but is he enough to carry the Astros offense in August?
Alex Bregman has been fantastic this year, but is he enough to carry the Astros offense in August? Photo by Jack Gorman
For all the talk about the Astros adding Roberto Osuna, who comes to the team with a big arm and a load of baggage, there was an actual trading deadline that passed Tuesday afternoon. The Astros were fairly active over the past week adding Osuna, catcher Marin Maldonado and reliever Ryan Pressly. About a month ago, this would have seemed like a haul that put them over the top in their quest for a second straight title. Then, July happened.

For nearly a month, the Astros bats have been dormant. Much of that is due to the fact that three of their team's everyday hitters are on the DL—Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Brain McCann (almost forgot him, didn't you?). The good news is all three are expected back within the next month. Correa is expected to start his rehab assignment as soon as this weekend. McCann has been hitting off a tee and, by all reports, is about two weeks from returning. There hasn't been official word on Altuve, but thus far, no one thinks he will be out for too long.

Last year, none of this would have been a serious concern. You could have rested them for a month and the Astros would have cruised to an AL West title. This year, the Mariners and A's are hot on their heels. This is shaping up to be a dogfight and the 'Stros are currently a couple dogs short.

While they certainly shored up their bullpen and added some much needed defense behind the plate, hitting is (and, honestly, has been) their biggest issue. Despite huge statistical numbers, this is a team that has been average at the most important times. And that isn't just because of injuries. Several guys who had career years (or close to it) last year and are under performing in 2018.

Marwin Gonzales continues to be an offensive liability as does Josh Reddick. Jake Marisnick was sent to the minors, he was so bad. George Springer had an awful month of June and Evan Gattis was terrible early in the year. Both have leveled off a bit, but there is something different about this team offensively. Even Altuve doesn't have close to the power numbers he had in 2017.

Alex Bregman is one of the lone bright spots, but that isn't enough. Maybe it will be enough for their three everyday guys to return. But, another bat in the lineup sure would have helped. It definitely couldn't have hurt.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke