The week of April 15 through April 21 in review.
The Astros roared into this week on a 9 game winning streak that they immediately stretched to a 10 game win streak with a 9-1 bashing of the Oakland A’s, which pulled them into a 1/2 game lead in the division for the first time this season.
They then floundered through a 1-3 end to the road trip that left them trailing the Seattle Mariners by a game and only 1/2 game up on the Texas Rangers. The first three games of the week featured excellent starting pitching by Collin McHugh, Wade Miley and Justin Verlander. McHugh and Verlander walked away with wins over the A’s and the Rangers, but Miley was saddled with a 2-1 loss by Oakland in the wrap-up of the two-game series. The Astros then got horrendous starting pitching out of Gerrit Cole and McHugh in losing the last two games of the Ranger series 9-4 and 11-10. The team turned a churning offense of more than 6 runs a game into a not so great 2-3 week.
The week of April 22 through April 28
In the idiotic world of baseball scheduling the Astros have had 3 off days in the last 11 days, but now get to play 24 straight days without a day off. On the plus side, the Astros get to spend the next week in the comfort of their home base as they play 7 home games against the AL Central elite Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians. Considering the Astros are 6-0 at home and 7-8 on the road, this is an opportunity for the good guys to get their wheels back on the road.
The Twins are on a bit of a roll winning four of their last five games and seven of their last 10, though three of those games were against the putrid Orioles and the other seven against the so-so Blue Jays and Tigers. The Twins are 12-7 and in first place in the AL Central and have a couple familiar names with Marwin Gonzalez (not hitting so far, but look out) and backup catcher Jason Castro (not hitting and not likely). They are riding top three BA, OBP and OPS to top 5 in runs scored in the AL. Their pitching staff is smack in the middle of the AL in ERA.
The Indians are 12-9 and second in the AL Central and are 5-5 in their last 10 games. They recently swept the Mariners in Seattle and then lost a series at home against the Braves. Their hitting has been horrible: bottom 2 in the AL in BA, OPS and runs scored. Their pitching has been a mixed bag of good and bad with a few more on the good side.
The Astros need to re-establish their home dominance this coming week.
Player of the Week.
They had quite a few hitters putting up decent numbers last week including Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick. But the player of the week is George Springer. He slashed .310 BA/ .480 OBP/ 1.375 OPS with 6 runs scored, 2 doubles, 3 HRs, 6 RBIs and 6 walks. He was a real weapon on the week.
In the magical 2017 season, the Astros were 14-7 after 21 games, just a game ahead of their current 13-8 record. They would be 16-9 at the end of April and a steamy 38-16 by the end of May on the way to a 101-61 record.
Last season the Astros were also 14-7 after 21 games, but due to starting earlier (like this season) they were all the way up to 20-10 at the end of April and a solid 36-22 at the end of May on the way to a club record 103-59 for the season.
So ….any thoughts on last week, this week or any other Astro subjects.