A week into the young Major League Baseball season, the 2017 ensemble of Houston Astros have been incredible on the hill. Their total earned run average is the second-best in baseball at 2.83, and opponents are batting a combined .194 against the Houston staff.
Former Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel has pitched 14 innings (1-0) and allowed just four hits, one earned run, and only three walks. Young righty Lance McCullers (1-0) has 17 strikeouts over just 13 innings of work.
Because of the high quality output of the pitching staff, the Astros have managed to pump out a 4-3 record over the first week of MLB action. However, they have produced just 21 runs over seven games (3.00 runs per game) — simply put: they need their best hitters to get hot.
Although the Astros lead the majors with 11 home runs, their .239 batting average thus far 17th in the league. They ranked 18th in on-base percentage (.302), another indicator of the lack of baserunners they generally have.
Unfortunately, their offensive struggles are evident on an individual level as well. Second baseman Jose Altuve has just six hits in 30 at-bats (.200), and all six hits have been singles. Starting center fielder George Springer has four home runs and eight RBIs, but has just seven hits altogether.
Their pitching, if the rotation stays healthy and their bullpen continues to hurl well, will not fall apart. For the Astros to meet expectations and succeed this season, though, their offense must transition from the struggles of the early season to the excitement and consistency we saw last season.