Houston Astros: The Astros Win Back-To-Back Games 1st Time in 2016
By Eric Huysman
All the talk in H-town recently has been focused on the failures of the Houston Astros this year.
This talk has been highlighted by the fact that the Houston Astros had not won back-to-back games in 2016. The Astros starting pitching continues to be an eyesore for the team, but they did do enough against the Twins for the last two games, both starters allowing fewer runs than the Astros scored. That seems like a simple philosophy, but part of the reason for the Astros woes has been the Astros starters putting their team behind early in the game, forcing the offense to play catch up.
While the Astros fell behind early Tuesday night with Collin McHugh giving up the lead-off homer, he kept the team in the game long enough for the Astros offense to wake up a little with homers from George Springer and Jason Castro. Last night, the Astros started the scoring early with Jose Altuve‘s seventh home run of the season, and they scored thirteen more times after that.
After hitting a new low with Dallas Keuchel on the mound Monday night, the Astros have looked offensively like the team we thought they were. When your number nine hitter has a homer in the past two games, you might be hot right now. Carlos Gomez has come around along with Carlos Correa hitting his first home run since the opening series. In 2015, this team was nicknamed Crush City for a reason, but in 2016, most of the homers have been solo shots.
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
The Astros have had high left on base numbers all year, but as I wrote earlier, they are near the middle of the pack with the LOB numbers. The Astros are now getting the walks and hits with those runners on base now. It’s too soon to say that the Astros are now fixed, but they are now swinging the bats well and scoring runs.
The Astros start a critical four-game series tonight versus the Seattle Mariners, who are impressing so far this year. The Mariners have won two of the three meeting with the Astros this year, now sit at the top of the division with a 16-11 record. The Astros once again dodge a bullet by not having to face Felix Hernandez this time again. The game last night may not be the turning point of the season, but what it offers is hope that the Astros will return to being competitive.
We could all look back at the 10-18 record come October and laugh because the Astros were able to bounce back and compete for a playoff berth. The 2005 Houston Astros overcame the 15-30 record to start the season and go to the World Series. The key to the success of the 2016 Astros could depend on how the starting pitchers perform, but Lance McCullers returning could really help the rotation recover. Scott Feldman has looked good in the bullpen thus far, look for him to continue to contribute in that role.
Next: Carlos Gomez Turnaround?
Looking at one game at a time, the Astros played great yesterday, but can they continue the success into tonight’s game? That is up to Chris Devenski and the Astros hitters. Go Stros, let’s get our revenge on the Mariners on Cinco de Mayo.
**Stats from Baseball-Reference**