The Astros’ offense cooled off slightly in Wednesday’s victory against the Tigers.
So, the Astros scored only five runs against the Tigers on Wednesday. You know what that means, right?
SOUND THE ALARMS!!!!! THE ASTROS ARE IN A SLUMP!!!!SOUND THE ALARMS!!!!!
In all seriousness, the Astros aren’t in a slump. Far from it right now. Excuse my (poor) attempt of humor. Anyway, Houston has now won eight straight games while maintaining the game’s best record (29-15) and the highest run differential (+87 runs).
Justin Verlander and the very effective slider
Current Astros’ ace Justin Verlander limited his former club to only one run on two hits and two walks in seven innings. It was good enough performance to see Verlander’s ERA drop to 2.38 while picking up his seventh win of the season. One reason why he pitched so well against the Tigers? His slider was right on. As noted here by Inside Edge, Verlander generated 12 swings and misses from his slider alone, which is a new career-best for the right-hander. Out of the 25 sliders he threw, the Tigers were only able to put two balls in play.
Jake Marisnick‘s offensive rebound continues
It was no secret last season that outfielder Jake Marisnick struggled mightily. While his stellar defense wasn’t a concern, a struggling bat forced Houston to send a key reserve off their bench to the minors on a couple of occasions. The level of talent he possesses is so tantalizing, however, his issues at the plate always seem to hold him back. The Astros obviously think highly of Marisnick, but his future with the club during the offseason wasn’t exactly clear.
We’re now in mid-May and Marisnick has been one of the better performers at the plate this season for the Astros. In fact, his 158 wRC+ in 73 plate appearances would be the second-best on the club if you’d ignore the qualifying hitter rules. In Detroit on Wednesday, he drove in two runs via single in the second and a triple in the eighth.
Ryan Pressly‘s scoreless streak continues
Arguably the best reliever in baseball since the Astros acquired him last July, Ryan Pressly has continue to mow down the competition when he pitches. He struck out two of the three Tiger hitters he faced. The most impressive aspect of Pressly, though, has to be his scoreless streak, which is now at 37 innings. Don’t forget that he surpassed Roy Oswalt‘s club record of 32 1/3 innings back on May 5th.