Astros News

The Houston Astros look like world beaters

jlyons
SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 13: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after scoring run on hit by Michael Brantley #23 of the Houston Astros off of starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners during the third inning of a game at T-Mobile Park on April 13, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won 3-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 13: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after scoring run on hit by Michael Brantley #23 of the Houston Astros off of starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners during the third inning of a game at T-Mobile Park on April 13, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won 3-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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The Houston Astros had won ten games in a row after a 2-5 start to the season. Firing on all cylinders, who can stop them?

It’s been talked about many times, from many different mouths across the vast expanse of the baseball world. Repeating as World Series Champion is among the most difficult thing to do in all of sports. The Astros got close last season but came up short.

In fact, since the first world series in 1903, it’s only happened a total of fourteen times! The last time it occurred was in 2000, by the New York Yankees, who polished off a three-peat. Nineteen years have gone by, and not a single team has been able to do what so few teams have.

The Houston Astros in 2017 won their first World Series Championship. Heading into 2018 they looked poised and ready to do it again. #neversettle was the campaign slogan, and it almost happened. They won their division by six games, even after a hefty pursuit by an upstart Oakland Athletics team, in the midst of a myriad of injuries to key components of their team. They swept the Cleveland Indians in three games in the division series.

Then came the 108 win Boston Red Sox. The Astros handled the Sox rather easily in game one, winning seven to two. All was well in the world. Carlos Correa was still hurting, Jose Altuve was running on basically one knee, but they were winning.

Then the wall hit, and for whatever reason, whether it was the Astros pitching being well under what they were capable of, or simply the fact that the Red Sox turned it on and showed why they were the best team in baseball in 2018, the Astros lost the next four games and were eliminated from the playoffs. The season ended abruptly, harshly, and suddenly.

However, there’s one thing people, don’t talk about often enough. The 2018 Houston Astros were better than the 2017 World Series Champion Astros. There wasn’t a Ken Giles. There were additions of Joe Smith and Hector Rondon. Gerrit Cole anchored the number two spot in the rotation. Justin Verlander nearly won a Cy Young award. The pitching was better. The bullpen was better.

The offense wasn’t what it was as if it were easy to follow up the historic numbers that they put up in 2017, but there were also key injuries to key players. This team was still poised to repeat as Champions but were cut short. No excuses. In the end, they lost, as most teams trying to accomplish this certain feat do.

But that’s all history, right? A. J. Hinch was quoted after a game against Seattle saying, “We don’t give two *bleeps* about last season.” It’s 2019 now. The Astros didn’t repeat. But they don’t look back either.

It’s a new season. It’s time to #takeitback, and through eighteen games, the Astros look like they’re out for blood. Here’s the kicker and hold onto your hats for this one. The 2019 Astros are even better than the 2018 Astros, who were better than the 2017 Astros, who won a World Series.

Their bullpen is rock solid. Roberto Osuna closing games out and Ryan Pressly setting him up in the eighth inning. Hector Rondon, Josh James, Will Harris, and Brad Peacock, who although was named a starter, is back in the pen for the time being due to the upcoming scheduling of games.

The Rotation is dominant. Lead by Justin Verlander, followed by Gerrit Cole, free agent acquisition Wade Miley, and former starter, turned key relief pitcher, turned starter once again, Collin McHugh. Losing Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton would cause a step back in most team’s pitching staffs, but Miley and McHugh have stepped right in where the former two left off.

The lineup is dangerous and unfair, and one through nine there are no breaks. George Springer is hitting lead-off bombs like it’s his mission. Jose Altuve with two healthy knees finding his power stroke from 2017. A healthy Carlos Correa clobbering line drives all over the field. Alex Bregman continues to do what he did in 2018 in a breakout year.

A healthy Michael Brantley has joined the ranks via free agency and proven his nickname, Dr. Smooth, is rightfully given. Robinson Chirinos is producing behind the dish and at the plate, Aledmys Diaz is contributing when he’s given the playing time and Tony Kemp doing exactly the same. It’s a nightmare for opposing pitching to face. No easy outs. No breathers.

It’s honestly a little unfair, but Jeff Luhnow has built one of the most complete teams in Major League Baseball history. With the early struggles and injuries of the Red Sox and the New York Yankees, two of the teams that were supposed to be World Series contenders along with the Astros, you simply have to sit back, relax, and take in the enormity of what is happening.

Next. Astros’ top prospect Yordan Alvarez turning heads in Round Rock. dark

As of right now, and it is still April so this isn’t stated with ignorance, there isn’t a team in the American League that can stop the Astros from getting to the World Series for the second time in three years.

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