Had an enjoyable astronomical weekend. Friday night, the International Space Station came overhead here in Sugar Land, and we watched it pass over. Not too exciting but a unique way to spend a few minutes. That was followed up by the blood-red lunar eclipse last night, which for once occurred at a fairly reasonable time between about 9:30 and 11 PM (If I said AM, this would be a bit problematic). Now that was quite interesting and a lot of fun to see.
But now our attention turns to the Astros, where they are and what is coming up. After their super hot 11-1 streak, the Astros have moved from pure mediocrity to a tie for the AL West lead with the LA Angels of someplace in Southern California.
So, let’s look at a few bullets related to the Astros…..
- The Astros have the most road wins in the majors (14). Of course, they’ve also played the most road games in the majors (22).
- They will add to that total with three more road games in Boston against the last-place Red Sox (that feels kind of fun to type), at which point they will have played 25 games on the road and only 13 at home. It is a good thing they are playing well on the road lately.
- The Astros finally return home Thursday and play 4 against the Rangers, who have played .500 in the last 10 games to crawl out of last place in the AL West. This is a week when the way things are set up, it is just begging the Astros to continue their hot streak.
- The Astros offense has been overshadowed by the terrific run of the pitching during their hot streak. But the team has picked up the pace since a lackluster April where they slashed .214 BA/ .299 OBP/ .668 OPS and scored just under 4 runs per game. Flash forward to May, and they are hitting .252 BA (Tied for 3rd in AL) with a .333 OBP (1st), a .802 OPS (1st) and a tad over 5 runs per game (2nd).
- After 7 starts, Justin Verlander is 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA and a 0.679 WHIP. In his 2019 Cy Young season, after 7 starts, he was 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA and a 0.864 WHIP. One big difference is that he had given up 7 homers in those 7 starts in 2019 and only 4 this season.
- In his last 15 games, Jose Altuve has scored 14 runs, hit 6 HRs, and knocked in 9 runs with a beefy 1.049 OPS. One thing that sticks out is he has 8 walks along with 8 Ks in that time.
- When Yuli Gurriel went into Washington Friday night, he hit .198 BA. Leaving on Sunday, he was all the way up to .248. In the series, he was 8 for 12 with 3 runs scored, 2 doubles, 2 homers (his first of the season) and 4 RBIs. Did he refuse to get on the team bus to the airport after the game Sunday?
- Maybe Bryan Abreu is finally figuring things out? In May, he has thrown 6 innings with a 1.50 ERA, but only 1 walk against 10 Ks. He has great stuff, and perhaps if he keeps showing that type of control, he can slide into the Cristian Javier in the bullpen while Javier is in the rotation.
Now that the Astros are around the 20% mark of the season, we hope that they are just beginning to hit their stride. It feels right to see them at the top of the standings again.