After watching the Preakness on Saturday and seeing the underdog (under horse?) Rombauer surge from a sixth position early in the race to a win at the end, it was just a reminder that position early is not always a harbinger of things to come. However, with the Astros at the quarter pole, some things are fairly evident at this point in the season.
The top of the Astros’ lineup has been very productive this season. The only hiccough was Jose Altuve’s games, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez due to COVID or COVID related protocols. Those three, plus Michael Brantley, the red hot Yuli Gurriel and the slightly lagging Carlos Correa, constitute a tough gauntlet for opposing pitchers to navigate.
YIE (Yes, It’s Early), but after a month and a half of the season, who are the top ten Astros to date? Which Astros have brought the most to the table so far in the young season? Here’s one man’s opinion.
Over the weekend, the Astros easily won two bookend games from the Toronto Blue Jays and lost the middle game when they fell behind, kept rallying and then had a bullpen meltdown bury them late.
After a late-game rally against the Yanks that turned a potential ugly 2-4 road trip to an acceptable 3-3 road trip, the Astros return home for the longest homestand of the season. They will play ten games in ten days against the Blue Jays sans, the injured George Springer, the Angels sans, the released Astro killer Albert Pujols and the Rangers sans class (OK, I have to keep stirring that in-state rivalry).
After last season, it may feel strange to say that the Astros are in the early season after 29 games since that would have been just short of half a season a year ago. But, they have covered less than 20% of the 2021 season, and so some concerns may be the result of small sample syndrome, while others may be true concerns that are not going away.
April was a physical and emotional roller coaster for the Astros as they swung from a 6-1 start to the season, down to a 1-9 middle of the month, over to a 7-2 finish. The Astros were hit hard with COVID related losses (Pedro Baez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia) and injury losses (Framber Valdez, Jake Odorizzi, Baez, Andre Scrubb, Blake Taylor, Enoli Paredes). The plus .500 record was good, all things considered.
The blog will give out some April Chipalatta Awards in our next post, but today we will look ahead to the month of May and those things that “may” come for the Houston Nine.