The Astros swept a baseball series in Arlington, TX this past weekend over their arch-rival. And the feeling was one of pure euphoria.
Sure, the Astros fans, myself included, are making too big of a deal about their early season success against the Rangers. While the wins are nice, we are just now entering the month of June. It is too early to claim bragging rights over a team this early in the season.
And while the division lead of 15 games over Texas this early in the season is something worth gawking over, it would be wise to keep the season in context. After all, there is plenty of baseball left to be played.
On the other hand, let’s enjoy the weekend for what it was. And this includes clinching the sweep in enemy territory, which the effect goes beyond the win-loss column.
Brad Peacock has filled in admirably for the Astros while Collin McHugh, Charlie Morton, and Joe Musgrove recuperate on the disabled list with various ailments. And yesterday was arguably his best start of the season.
6/4/17 Pitching Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO, .157 WPA
One impressive aspect of Peacock’s game was the ability to strikeout nine Rangers batters. This means that Peacock has struck out 25 batters in just 15 innings of work. And he is doing it with an average fastball velocity of 92-93 MPH, though, his slider has generated more whiffs (35) than his fastball (14) before yesterday’s start.
22 and 28 degrees
Alright, so this a two-for-one number special. And you can thank George Springer and his two home runs that helped the Astros accomplish the sweep on the road.
The first home run had a launch angle of 22 degrees and the second had a launch angle of 28 degrees. The first shot had a bit more of a line drive feel to it as the hang time was just 3.9 seconds and reached a maximum height of 53 feet. But the second home run was a bit more traditional as the shot had a hang time of 5.2 seconds with a maximum height of 88 feet. The wonders of the Statcast era, am I right?
Springer has been on a tear lately at the plate. In his last ten games, the Astros leadoff hitter has slashed .435/.480/.913 with seven home runs and 42 total bases.
10-game winning streak
The Astros not only swept the Rangers, but they also manage to do it on Texas’ home field while matching the ten-game winning streak that their rival posted in May. Can I call this poetic justice?
Anyway, this ten-game winning streak came about unexpectedly. I doubt anyone predicted this would happen when you consider Peacock and David Paulino started multiple games. The team’s run differential over this streak has been an impressive +46. And the offense has also scored 75 runs during the streak.
Oh, did I forget to mention that the ten-game streak applies to another Astros record: Consecutive wins on the road. Enjoy your Monday.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference, MLB.com and Fangraphs**