Holy Toledo! The Houston Astros are looking good right now. Yes, it’s only April, but what a difference a year makes. This season the Astros are 11-7, while at this point in 2014, the team was 5-13.
Judging by the overwhelmingly positive responses on social media yesterday, it appears this team has invigorated the fan base. I’d bet the astronauts orbiting the earth could hear Space City fans let out a collective whoop when the Astros recovered in the 9th inning of yesterday’s game to win 7-6 and get their first sweep ever against Oakland.
It looks like the good guys are back!
On to this week’s awards:
Pitcher of the Week: Dallas Keuchel
This is Keuchel’s second award this season and he really earned it going nine innings on April 24 against the Oakland Athletics. Keuchel didn’t get the decision because the game was scoreless when he exited and the team won it in 11 innings. How good was Keuchel?
How about this line: 9.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 4 Ks, and 2 BB on 106 pitches (64 strikes). And one more thing, Keuchel lowered his already miniscule ERA from 0.90 to 0.62. Yep, this guy is good.
Player of the Week: Jed Lowrie
This was a hard one to choose. Jose Altuve is so darned good, but Jed Lowrie was outstanding this week.
In the six games against Seattle and Oakland, the shortstop batted .444/.600/.556 with 8 hits with 2 doubles, 4 RBI, 6 BB (2 intentional), and 1 strikeout. One of those intentional walks came yesterday in the top of the 9th inning to load the bases, which proved costly for the A’s.
The return of the Jedi has been a huge boon for the Houston Astros.
Weekly Goat: Asher Wojciechowski
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
Wojo had a rough week for the Astros. After getting called back up from AAA Fresno after Brad Peacock went on the disabled list, Wojo got the start on Monday, April 20 and Sunday, April 26. AW was unable to pitch more than four innings in either tilt, giving up 9 earned runs, with 10 Ks, and 4 BBs, with a 10.13 ERA and a .361 batting average against.
Thankfully in both of Wojo’s starts, the team was able to get the victory. Our fingers are crossed that he finds his mojo and gets back on track.
Redemption Player: Evan Gattis
Everyone knows about how slow of a start El Oso Blanco has been off to in 2015. He’s worn the Golden Sombrero (4 Ks in a single game) twice. Only one home run. The list goes on.
But in the April 26 game against the Oakland A’s, Gattis was crucial to the Astros’ victory. The White Bear went 2-5 and batted four runs in, including a ninth inning double on a shoulder-level fastball that put Houston ahead for good. After the A’s intentionally walked Lowrie to load the bases, Evan Gattis (who obviously wasn’t feared by his opponent) made them pay for it. It was the kind of play that Houston Astros’ fans have been anticipating for the young slugger since he was acquired from Atlanta in the offseason.
Here’s hoping the bear is coming out of hibernation for good.
That’s it for this week. The way this Astros team is playing, they should close out April with a bang, not a whimper.