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Houston Astros: The anatomy of the team’s recent success

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DETROIT, MICHIGAN - MAY 14: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros celebrates scoring a run in the first inning with George Springer #4 while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on May 14, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - MAY 14: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros celebrates scoring a run in the first inning with George Springer #4 while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on May 14, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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The Astros just completed a run of twelve straight games and in fine fashion. Let’s take a step back and enjoy some of the team’s stats over that span.

As the players relish their well-deserved off-day, why not look back at the accomplishments of the team and the players over this long stretch of games. The Astros are playing at a historic level as of late and are reaping the benefits, as they currently hold the best record in Major League Baseball.

The Astros are in the midst of a grueling portion of their schedule. They have a rare day off in between a twelve-game stretch they just completed and thirteen straight games ahead of them. In the first half of that span, they went 12-1, expanding their lead in the AL West to 7.5 games.

What’s behind their recent success? Playing at an extraordinary level in both aspects of the game, pitching and with the bat. Houston has outscored their opponents 98-39 in the last twelve games, that’s roughly an average score of 8-3 per game. It’s hard to lose when a team is on such an impressive hot streak.

The Astros slash line over those games is an imposing  .320/.385/.637 with a 1.023 OPS. They have a total of 135 hits and 34 home runs over that stretch, which averages just over 11 hits and nearly 3 homers per game. Eight players are batting over .300 during that span. You can’t ask for more than that from an offense.

A few players are playing at a mind-boggling pace, but the contributions have been coming from up and down the batting order. George Springer has been on quite the hot streak slashing .438/.491/.917 with 7 HRs, 18 runs, and 16 RBIs. Alex Bregman has been on a power trip slugging eight homers and knocking in 19 runs, both tops on the team in the last twelve games.

There is no rest for the opposing pitchers as the batters at the bottom half of the order are also doing their part. Houston is getting great support from players like Jake Marisnick, Tony Kemp and Yuli Gurriel, who are batting .421, .417, and .356 respectively, since May 4.

The pitching has also been at peak performance as of late posting a team ERA of 3.25. What’s even more impressive, if you take out just the one game where they gave up 12 runs, the ERA of the pitching staff would be 2.25. The pitchers have averaged 14 strikeouts per game in that 12 game span.

All of the starters were credited with a win in every game, except the one meltdown by Collin McHugh. Brad Peacock seems to have found the cure to his problems going 2-0 with one lone earned run in his 12 innings of work.

Ryan Pressly is his usual self appearing in six games and pitching 6.2 scoreless innings. Josh James has also righted the ship lately only surrendering one run in his four appearances. Justin Verlander was as reliable as ever throwing 20.1 innings in his three wins posting a 2.21 ERA and racking up 24 strikeouts in the process.

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Whether the Astros can continue at this pace is yet to be seen, and it would be a tall order to ask of them. Looking ahead at this next stretch of 13 straight games, it’s going to be more of a challenge. They will face the recently surging Boston Red Sox six times and the first place Cubs three games.

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