Although it’s still early, there are plenty of fingers being pointed at multiple members of this Houston Astros roster during this nightmarish seven-game losing streak.
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At one point this season, Houston was the hottest team in baseball, reaching a winning streak of 10 games. While the team sits at the top of the league with the Los Angeles Dodgers in regards to home runs with 79, they’re currently tied with their former N.L. Central division rival Chicago Cubs with 561 strikeouts as a unit.
Both teams are in a great position being over six games above .500 and at the top of their respect divisions. Well, the Houston Astros are still in first place but the Cubs reclaimed sole possession of second in hopes of catching up to the ever-dangerous and Adam Wainwright-less St. Louis Cardinals.
Prior to suffering back-to-back three-game sweeps by the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox, the Astros have only had this done to them one time. In fact, the last time this happened was in early May in a series with the Texas Rangers which also marked their longest losing streak to begin the season.
Rather impressive if you ask me.
Houston had the opportunity to put together another extended winning streak but failed to pull out the brooms in the finale of the four-game set while hosting the Baltimore Orioles. Things started off a bit slow, but the hits were finally coming together in key at-bats, eventually erasing a one-run deficit against a confident pitcher on the mound and even grabbing the lead on a sacrifice fly by Luis Valbuena.
Qualls, 36, hasn’t been reliable in his previous two appearances for the Astros, giving up three earned runs on four hits with just one complete inning between the Orioles and White Sox. His production has been all over the place this season, holding things down throughout a handful of games which resulted in wins.
The veteran reliever currently carries a 4.26 ERA at home while showing obvious signs of struggles on the road by posting a 7.04 ERA. This is something he’s going to need to work on or he’ll end up finding himself looking for another job elsewhere.
Not all the blame should necessarily fall on Qualls or this bullpen since this is a team effort. You’ll need to be able to plate runs or put yourself on base to do so which is what staff writer Andy Pondillo talks about in his most recent episode of ‘#AstroChat‘.
While the season is still young, the reality is that every big league club who shows signs of a promising post-season run will hit brick walls along the way. The ride to the top isn’t always smooth sailing when you’re expected to play 162 games a year – especially when your club is still fairly new to the American League itself.
As a loyal fan of the Chicago Cubs, watching top prospects such as Carlos Correa and Vincent Velasquez finally making their major league debuts was fairly exciting to see even if they were in losing efforts. Keep in mind, Kris Bryant was promoted prior to a series opener against James Shields and the San Diego Padres and struck out three times before settling in.
So while things may be rough right now, it’s not going to be like this very long. This is a team that has proved that they do belong at the top of the A.L. West and will eventually win their first World Series title in franchise history very soon.
Have faith, Astros fans. I know I do, and that’s saying a lot.