Has Joe Espada Gotten Too Much Criticism For Astros’ Horrendous Start?

The Houston Astros are off to a 55-year low season start, but the heat may be going to the wrong places.

The Houston Astros are off to their worst start in 55 years. They are currently ranked as the fourth-worst team in MLB Standings with a dismal 9-19 record.

This is coming off a 90-72 record in 2023 where the Astros finished as the AL West winners and made it to game seven in the American League Championship Series where they lost to the ultimate World Series Champion Texas Rangers.

Without question, the pitching staff is suffering and is a major contributing factor to the season start. Justin Verlander has just returned from shoulder inflammation and looks good so far, but has only seen the mound two times for a total of 10.1innings.

Another positive note is Framber Valdez returning from his 15 day stint on the IL due to elbow soreness. Valdez returned to Houston for the team’s Mexico showing with the Colorado Rockies. The star left-hander pitched five innings allowing five hits and two earned runs, which now brings his ERA to 2.60 on the season.

Getting their bullpen put back together after a meriad of injuries is important and could turn things around for the team, but maybe it’s time to look deeper.

After the loss in game seven of the 2023 AL Championship series, Dusty Baker announced his retirement. Bob Nightengale of USA Today claims that the retirement came as a result of “constant media criticism and interference from the Astros’ analytics department that ultimately led Dusty Baker to retire as manager after last season.”

It begs the question, if the analytics department of Houston is offering constant interference, does new manager Joe Espada deserve all the critique?

He was on the coaching staff under Baker and surely watched his style.

Baker, a future Hall of Famer, had a knack for bringing calm in times of struggle, but did he also have a way of ignoring the analytics department? Is Espada allowing influence in his management style that Baker did not?

Reports say that Houston believes they have turned their season around after handily beating the Rockies in Mexico City. If this is true, the results will show in Tuesday’s game against the Cleveland Guardians, or not.

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