Clint Barmes is 0-for-7 at the plate this year in his brief stay with the Astros after being activated from the DL on Friday. While the Astros dealt for him thinking that he could be a good fit for the Crawford Boxes (i.e. right-hander with a little pop, just like Bill Hall), the main reason for his acquisition was that he would solidify the Astros infield defense. Tommy Manzella had a good reputation at short, but struggled at times last season. So how bad has the Astros defense been without Barmes? Uh, pretty bad, according to Baseball Nation:
The Astros, to date, have a batting average against on ground balls of .310. For some perspective, the worst mark a year ago belonged to the Marlins, at .265. Now, presumably, there's some small sample size magic at play here that has made the Astros look a little worse than they really are, but they're still at the bottom, and there's nearly a month in the books.
On the one hand, it makes some sense.
(Brett) Wallace has never had a good defensive reputation, or even a bad defensive reputation. Wallace has an unspeakable defensive reputation, and a body shape that belongs in an orchard. (Chris) Johnson's reputation is bad as well. But then, (Angel) Sanchez is supposed to be all right, and (Bill) Hall was once an excellent defensive shortstop, so while it makes sense that the infield would have its problems, it's puzzling why it's been so very terrible.
The Astros pitchers have carried a pretty bad ERA for most of the season, but they have not been getting much help from their defense at all. Add Carlos Lee to the list of butchers and you have a lot of suspects for the defensive gaffes that have occurred so far this year.
Hopefully, Barmes can help turn it around a bit. For the sake of the pitcher's ERA's. Either way, it looks like some regression to the mean will help pull the Astros up from "bad" to "below-average" as the season rolls on. As most around here expected.