After a successful April, the Astros beat the Magic Number, taking control of the AL West. However, they will face some intriguing teams during the month of May.
The Astros finished the month of April with a 16-9 record, which twelve of those wins came against divisional opponents. As I projected earlier, a 16-10 record, with eleven divisional wins was the benchmark to hit, and the Astros surpassed this mark. We head into May with some intriguing match-ups, starting most notably with the Texas Rangers.
What Happens in May
First of all, May is an interesting month for the Astros. Of the 29 games played in this month, only seven are against divisional opponents. They face the Rangers four times and the Angels for a three game series right after. The rest of the month consists of playing the Braves, Yankees, Marlins, Tigers, Indians and Orioles. Most importantly, the Rangers, Angels, Athletics and Mariners will only play nine divisional games, so the importance of out-of-division wins is critical this month.
Second, the Astros will be hosting the Rangers for this four game set starting tonight. Winning tonight would set a strong tone. Furthermore, a win would transcend the negative trend against the against our Lone Star rivals.
Next, we will face the Angels in LA for a three game series. We took three out of four games in the series last month, and will be looking to expand our lead over divisional opponents. Of these seven games, the Astros will need to win five to keep up their position atop the AL west standings.
Lastly, we play four teams that should spark plenty of interest in May: The Yankees, Tigers, Orioles and Twins. As we continue through the season, the Astros will be able to compare themselves to the rest of the American League. These match-ups are possible precursors to postseason series, and would allow this team to build confidence heading into the summer months. The Astros will also need to take advantage of the series against the Braves and the Marlins. They will also host series against the Indians, Tigers and Orioles, while traveling to face the Yankees and Twins. Of these 22 games, the Astros will need to win twelve to stay ahead of the AL West that woukd distinguish themselves as a contender in the American League.
All in all, Houston will need to win five games against divisional opponents. Posting an overall 17-12 record in May will help enable their climb towards a championship.
***Statistics courtesy of MLB.com***