Three things from the Astros’ 7-2 win over the Rangers
It didn’t take long for the Astros to flex their collective muscles against the Rangers on Good Friday.
The Astros have been on a roll as of late. Although their ten-game winning streak was snapped in Oakland on Wednesday, the club managed to get itself out of an early 2-5 hole to start the season.
Entering a road series in Arlington for the second time this season, the Astros took Game 1 by the score of 7-2. Let’s see if that one ignites another long win streak.
A healthy Jose Altuve can do wonders
It’s no secret that the Astros were limping into the postseason last year. The lineup was still good, but it wasn’t clicking at one hundred percent. Altuve’s injured knee was a major reason for those issues at the plate. Interestingly enough, Altuve still finished last season with a 135 wRC+.
In 2019, it looks like Altuve is recapturing his MVP form from 2017. In only 83 plate appearances, the Astros’ second baseman has eight home runs and a 176 wRC+. For the season, he’s already been with worth slightly over one win. He was also a key reason why the Astros jumped to an early lead on Good Friday against the Rangers. His two-run home run in the first inning increased the Astros’ win probability by 11.7%. That’s quite a swing.
Justin Verlander looked like his 2018 self
In his first start against the Rangers a couple of weeks ago, Verlander didn’t make it past the fifth inning. He didn’t look like himself in that start. This time around the veteran starter lasted seven innings of one-run baseball before handing it off to his bullpen. Thanks to his last two starts, Verlander now has a 3.00 ERA in 30 innings of work.
The left-handed relief conundrum
At this point in time, the Astros don’t really have a reliable left-handed reliever on the active roster. While Reymin Guduan showed some promise in Spring Training, he struggled against the Rangers, allowing one run and a walk in only 1/3 of an inning. Framber Valdez looks more like a starter than a shutdown lefty out of the ‘pen right now, although the Astros are keeping Valdez as a reliever in Triple-A. Cionel Perez looks like a potential option down the road. Guduan has the best stuff for a reliever out of the three, but it doesn’t hide the fact that the Astros are limited on reliable options for the role.