The Houston Astros Are Making Strides Going Into The All-Star Break

Andrew GloverCorrespondent IJuly 13, 2009

PHOENIX - JUNE 14:  Hunter Pence #9 of the Houston Astros scores a run during the major league baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks  at Chase Field on June 14, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.   The Astros defeated the Diamondbacks 8-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Houston Astros enter the All-Star break 44-44 and are fourth in the NL Central, three and a half games back from the division leading Cardinals. The Astros are in the best place in the division at the All Star Break since 2003, when they were leading the


Here is a recap of the Astros' season before the All-Star Break.






The Astros have scored 368 runs, an average of 4.2 per game, ranking 23rd in the major leagues. Michael Bourn leads the team with 57 runs, Lance Berkman is second with 49, Miguel Tejada has 48, Hunter Pence has 45, and Carlos Lee has 35.


The Astros have improved their average as a team, ranking ninth with a .267 batting average. Pitcher Mike Hampton has the best batting average on the team, batting .333. Tejada leads the everyday players with a .329 average. Lee is second with a .308 average, Pence is batting .298, Bourn is batting .286, and Geoff Blum is batting .281.


Houston is among the worst in the league in drawing walks, ranking 25th with 269. Berkman leads the team with 66 walks, Bourn has 38, Pence has 36, and Lee has 24.


The Astros rank 25th in home runs with 71. Berkman leads the team with 18, Lee has 13, and Pence has 11.


Overall the Astros started the season slow in hitting but has picked up the pace some but still need to improve their hitting.


Overall Grade: D+




Base Running


The Astros have stolen 61 bases in 92 attempts ranking 10th in the major leagues. Bourn leads the team with 32, Pence and Kazuo Matsui each have nine, and Berkman has six. Houston ranks 21st in total bases with 1,203. Tejada leads the team with 167, Lee has 159, Berkman has 153, Pence has 151, and Bourn has 135.


The Astros are 20th in doubles with 150. Tejada leads the team and the league with 30, Berkman has 18, Lee has 17, Bourn and Pence have 15 each. Houston is fourth in triples with 23. Bourn leads the team with eight, Pence has four, and Darin Erstad, Ivan Rodriguez, and Jeff Keppinger each have two.


The Astros have improved in getting extra base hits and runners in scoring position. For them to gain ground in the Central they will have to continue.


Overall Grade: C+






The Astros are 11th in the league in ERA with a 4.21. Alberto Arias leads the team in ERA with a 1.57. Arias has not allowed a run since May 26. LaTroy Hawkins is second with a 2.39 ERA, Wandy Rodriguez is third with a 2.96 ERA, Chris Sampson has a 3.02 ERA, and Jose Valverde has a 3.43 ERA.


Houston is tied for eighth in complete games with four. Roy Oswalt has pitched two; Brian Moehler and Rodriguez each have one.


The Astros are 19th in shutouts with four. Rodriguez is the only pitcher to have a shutout. However, Moehler and Rodriguez started games that ended in a shutout.


The Astros are 22nd in hits allowed with 807. Valverde has allowed the fewest, giving up 17 in 22 games. Arias allowed 19, Tim Byrdak has given up 23, Wesley Wright has given up 24, and Hawkins has given up 34. Russ Ortiz leads the starting pitchers giving up 76 hits.


Houston has allowed 398 runs ranking 11th in the league. Arias has given up the fewest with seven, Valverde gave up nine, Wesley Wright and Hawkins have given up 11 each, and Byrdak has given up 12. Ortiz leads the starting pitchers only giving up 39.


The Astros rank 11th in walks giving up with 293. Valverde leads the team, only giving up six walks. Wright has given up eight; Hawkins and Jeff Fulchino have given up 11. Moehler leads the starting pitchers only giving up 25.


Houston is 11th in strikeouts with 626. Rodriguez leads the team with 106, Oswalt has struck out 95, Ortiz has 55, Hampton has 53, and Moehler has 51. Hawkins leads relievers with 29.


Overall, the Astros pitching has gotten stronger in the last couple weeks after a terrible start to the season. This will have to continue for the Astros to contend.


Overall Grade: C+




After going 20-29 in the first two months of the season, the Astros have gone 24-15. If the Astros play like they did in June and the first part of July they could make the playoffs for the first time since winning the National League Pennant in 2005.