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Today's Astros Optimal Lineup Analysis- 8/30/23

In my recent article describing the optimal Astros lineup, I described that every night might have a different answer depending on if the SP was RH or LH and what their dominant pitch types were.


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The Astros go for the sweep today! This would effectively eliminate the Red Sox from the postseason. The Astros are in a three-way tie for first place in the AL West. EVERY game is critical.


Also, from yesterday, MICHAEL BRANTLEY IS BACK!! Read all about my thoughts here on his impact to the Astros.



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So today, let's do the quick application of that thought process. Let's compare the optimal Astros lineup with the choices Dusty Baker has made today.


Today's pitcher is Kutter Crawford of the Red Sox. His pitch mix this year has been.

Crawford stuff

I will label Crawford a RH Fastball dominant pitcher. I am going to consider optimal based on the table at the bottom - the overall xwOBA vs. Crawford's pitch mix. Crawford has a NASTY sweeper (7.1%) and split finger (8.3%). The optimal lineup would be.

optimal lineup

The lineup choices are going to be more challenging since there are several good options every night.


TODAY'S LINEUP


This is the lineup Dusty is rolling out.

today's lineup

Will the Astros work Crawford into Fastball counts? Watch Crawfords control of the sweeper and splitter early as he tries to work them in. Since, this team is GREAT hitting fastballs that is probably the key.


My other thoughts on today's lineup:

  • Navigating RHP lineups will be a challenge for the Astros.

  • Maldy in vs. RHP simply costs this team over 0.5 runs per game. It simply is NOT acceptable to keep Diaz's 0.397 xwOBA on the bench for Maldy's 0.236 xwOBA. Catcher has to be the spot to play Diaz vs. RHP. - Minus 3 (I am raising the penalty now)

    • YES, I know Framber is pitching. I don't care. What is this team going to do if Maldy CAN'T play at catcher?

    • Diaz must catch Valdez and Verlander a few times this year- period.

  • Finding Singleton playing time against the nearly 70% Fastball Crawford IS the right answer folks. He may have issues vs. Breaking and Offspeed pitches. Monitor this. May need more of a sample size, but he should be a good option for today.

  • My Optimal lineup projects to a 0.376 xwOBA or 6.5 runs per game. Dusty's lineup is also a very good 0.352 xwOBA or 5.7 runs per game. I will deduct 1 just for my lineup projecting to be better. 0.8 runs per game is a LOT to choose to not go after.

Overall, I would rate this lineup a 6. Overall, an OK lineup vs. an RHP. Yes, it has the same issue many lineups vs. RHP do. 1-8 might rake.


Who will RAKE for the Astros tonight? Tucker and Alvarez and MAYBE Brantley. Diaz would but he is not playing.


Who might struggle? Maldy- broken record vs. RHP


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Here is the lineup vs. Crawford's pitch mix.

Astros vs. Crawford






























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