Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 5/18/12
HOUSTON At this stage, almost 40 games into the 2012 season, stark reality has set in determining what the Astros are and what they aren't. They are not particularly explosive offensively. They entered Thursday ranked among the bottom five teams in the National League in home runs (12th with 25), weighted on-base average (tied for 13th at .302), and slugging percentage (14th at .364). The nine-game run of futility preceding their return for this eight-game home stand ended with the Astros hitting .197.237.262 and averaging 1.8 runs per game. What the Astros are is athletic and aggressive. Much of what unfolded in their four-run fourth inning against the Brewers on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park served as a microcosm for how they must score runs. "We're not the kind of team that's going to sit around and wait for the three-run home run," Astros right fielder Brian Bogusevic said. "We have to push the issue a little bit. And you can see that when we start doing it a little bit it snowballs and we do it a lot. It's something that's useful for us. It's the way that we need to play, the way our team is made up." What the Astros (17-21) managed in the bottom of the fourth against Brewers right-hander Shaun Marcum proved sufficient in their 4-0 win. Half of their total came when shortstop Jed Lowrie delivered his team-leading fifth home run, a two-run blast into the right-field stands. The latter two runs were a byproduct of assertiveness and awareness. Bogusevic parlayed a healthy lead off first base into a safe station in scoring position even with Chris Johnson grounding out to third base behind him. Bogusevic followed that attentive effort with another, scoring on a bloop single to center off the bat of catcher Chris Snyder. "That's something that we want to do always," Bogusevic said. "It's something that we talked about in spring training: playing aggressively; running the bases aggressively. Especially in that situation where Snyder is the eight hitter and you've got the pitcher (J.A. Happ) on deck." Bogusevic is swift and agile, so his romp around the bases can be credited in part to his athletic disposition. Snyder doesn't exactly share the same physical characteristics, but his aggression allowed him to take second when the throw home from center fielder Norichika Aoki skipped by catcher Jonathan Lucroy. That heads-up display enabled Snyder to score when Jordan Schafer delivered an RBI single two batters later, with Snyder going full throttle to beat the throw from Aoki. "It's a young athletic team and they've got to learn to push it," said Snyder, who didn't need much prodding to gloat over his exceptional performance on the bases. "They've got to learn to take the extra base, and they're capable of it. Right now, coming off the last series where the offense was a little scarce, that's the time you have to push it. You have to press the envelope, you have to fight and take that extra base." The fourth inning only advanced the narrative of how this team will be defined. If the Astros can't slug their way to success they certainly can scamper their way to available scoring opportunities. Home runs inspire oohs and aahs, but an attacking style can garner applause and plaudits. "I think that everybody is enjoying being able to watch an aggressive ballclub; that's what these guys have done," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "That's one thing we talked about, and I think Bobby Meacham's done a good job at first base getting these guys prepared to go first and third. "Those things are huge to be able to do that. You'd just love to see the guys being able to learn as they move on. Yeah, there's been some mistakes on the bases, there's no doubt. But we can learn from those mistakes and get better, and I think they have." Follow me on Twitter at moisekapenda
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