It has been a tough time for the team’s fans as they have been on a roll (as in rolling back down the standings’ hill) in losing 7 of their last 8 games, heading into a mini-series with the Colorado Rockies. It is easy to get into a COVID lockdown funk about everything after a year plus of eating water sandwiches in life. But here you go….ten reasons to be happy about the Astros.
- Winners. They have been to the playoffs in five of the last six seasons and had a winning record in the other season.
- Special Winners. They have been to the ALCS a terrific four seasons in a row and to the World Series in two of those seasons.
- Not that I’m spiteful or spitful (Gerrit Cole – Spit!!). The Yankees are 5-10. (OK, not necessarily having anything to do with the Astros, but it makes me extremely happy anyway).
- Zack Greinke! He is worth the price of admission just to see what type of magician’s trick he will pull off in his next start. Is he going to turn a screaming line drive into a double play? Is he going to freeze a batter with a 54 mph loop-de-loop eephus pitch? Is he going to confuse them with an 88 mph fastball that looks about 110 mph after the eephus pitch? It is fun.
- The Boys Are Coming Back. We are being told that Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Martin Maldonado and (who’s he) Robel Garcia will be available for Tuesday night’s game, and the speculation is that Jose Altuve will be available this weekend.
- On Base Mania. Yuli Gurriel had an on-base percentage of a miserable .277 in 2020 and .328 for his career, but he is getting on at an outrageous .477 clip so far with a pretty fine .358 batting average to boot.
- Don’t Ryne About It. To quote mlb.com, “Astros reliever Ryne Stanek has nearly pitched the equivalent of a full game this season (8 2/3 innings) and has given up one hit — a homer to Oakland’s Seth Brown on April 10 — while striking out 12 batters. Opposing hitters are 1-for-26 (.038 average) against Stanek, and he’s posted a 0.46 WHIP. Right-handed batters are 0-for-18 against him with eight strikeouts.”
- The Big Y. Watching Yordan Alvarez hit is like eating a handful of peanut M&Ms. It is enjoyable, and you just can’t get enough of it. The world and baseball watching will be a whole lot better with Yordan back in the lineup.
- Sixes are Wild. Ryan Pressly has pitched in and finished six games (though one of those was a walk-off), given up 6 hits and put up six Ks in six innings of pitching. And he has one win, one save and given up no earned runs so far in 2021.
- Only Three Back. Despite stinking up the place, the Astros are three back of the M’s in the AL West. After 15 games in 2018, they were 2-1/2 games back of the Angels in a season that ended in the ALCS. In 2019 after 14 games, they were three games back of the M’s in a season that ended in the World Series. It is less than 10% of the season to date. There are 147 games to go, about 2-1/2 times how many games they played last season. Things can change in a hurry.
So, ten reasons to be happy (or happy about the Astros)….what are you happy about?