Astros: The Opportunity is Here!
By Cody Poage
In case you haven’t noticed, the Astros are on a bit of a roll.
After finishing with a 17-12 win-loss record in the month of May, and winners of seven of the last ten, the Astros have begun to climb out of their early season hole. Once a 17-28 record has now turned into 24-29. And the Astros currently have a tremendous opportunity to jump right back into the thick of things in the AL West.
Remember when it seem like the Astros were playing first place club after first place club? Well, the schedule is starting to even out now. Of their next twenty games, the Astros face off against a team with a losing record fourteen times. And if the recent winning trend holds steady then the Astros could find themselves making up some serious ground on the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners.
But did I mention that the other six of those upcoming twenty games are on the road against the Rangers and two at home against the St. Louis Cardinals? Both franchises have had the Astros number many times in recent years. In fact, the Astros are currently 0-6 against the Rangers this season after being swept in both Arlington and Minute Maid Park.
Like I stated earlier though, the Astros are on a bit of a roll. George Springer had an incredible month of May with a 161 wRC+ and .252 ISO. Carlos Correa has begun to show signs of adjusting to the opposing pitchers adjustments. Jose Altuve is still Jose Altuve. Collin McHugh just threw a complete game. Even Dallas Keuchel’s last start was encouraging. And just imagine the overall shape of this Astros team if Lance McCullers and Carlos Gomez start to shake of the rust? The Astros could be poised to make the surge that everyone thought they were capable of in April. Heck, the team even finished its latest road trip 4-1. When was the last time the Astros had a winning road trip?
However, the Astros will be tested on the road again in the month of June. After the upcoming home series against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland Athletics, the Astros go on the road for nine games. And again, six of those road match ups are against the Rangers and the Cardinals. So needless to say, the Astros upcoming road trip may very well determine how the Astros summer goes. If the team can’t take care of business, they will find themselves trying to climb out of the same hole they are already in, or even much worse.
The upcoming stretch of games also includes match ups with the Cincinnati Reds, Tampa Bay Rays, and Los Angeles Angels. And while each of them have fallen on losing times like the Astros this season, that doesn’t mean they couldn’t do some damage if the Astros aren’t careful. That’s why the month of June is so important for this team. If the Astros can somehow replicate May’s success in June, this may set the team up for a push towards a repeat playoff appearance.
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
If the Astros don’t take advantage of the opportunity that is currently in front of them then the team might as well consider trading off veterans like Gomez, Colby Rasmus, and Doug Fister at the July deadline. In other words, the month of June is the Astros’ golden opportunity. They just better not screw it up.
**Statistics provided by Fangraphs**