14 of the last 19 Houston Astros‘ RBIs have come with two outs. This is coming from a team that has hit .221 with two outs all year, ranking second-worst in the league. They have hit .219 with runners in scoring position and two outs, and yet in September, something has just clicked. Coming off a three game sweep against the division rival Seattle Mariners, the Astros may have found their groove.
In fact, seven of the team’s nine everyday players are hitting over .250 in September. That includes strikeout artists Chris Carter and Brett Wallace, the .240 hitting Matt Dominguez and the no-bat .200 Marc Krauss. September is a magical time for the Astros, at least thus far. And keep in mind this is all being done largely without All-Star catcher Jason Castro, who is ailing with a sore knee.
Jose Altuve has returned to his All-Star ways, hitting .412 so far this month. Opposite him is youngster Jonathan Villar hitting .326.
Not only is the hitting coming around, but the pitching is too. The Astros’ team ERA in September is 4.09 — that’s .70 lower than their season average. Their bullpen is only 3-of-6 in save opportunities, but no one expects the bullpen to improve until some moves are made to bolster their ranks.
Statistically speaking, what the Astros do in September is moot. They’re last in MLB, but in a season marred with negatives, every positive is something to write about. This enhanced performance lends credence to the claim that the Astros could compete for a playoff spot as early as next year. It’s a long shot, but any shot is worth it. Spring training 2014 will be a fun time for Astros fans and players alike.