Bullpen issues aside, Astros fans should remain optimistic despite Yankees sweep

It is never good to get swept, but the Astros should be fine after their disappointing start.

New York Yankees v Houston Astros
New York Yankees v Houston Astros / Tim Warner/GettyImages

This is not how the Houston Astros wanted to start their 2024 season. Coming into the season among the favorites in the American League, getting swept by the Yankees in the season's first four games was far from ideal.

The biggest issue was the Astros' bullpen, which seemed to have a different guy come up short every night. Even the normally lights out Josh Hader got victimized by Juan Soto in the final game of the set. Some of what happened could have been avoided by better bullpen construction, but there were also some moments where you just have to tip your cap to the Yankees' hitters.

Staring at an 0-4 record would make it easy to run around like Chicken Little and declare that the sky is falling in Astros Land. However, a closer look at the series shows that this should be just a small speed bump and that good things are still on the way in 2024.

The Astros-Yankees series was a lot closer than it looked

Despite it being a clean sweep, this was far from a blowout of a series. While Friday's game wasn't all that competitive, there were two one-run games and a two-run game. If a couple batted balls go a slightly different way, the Astros could have easily won the series. Sometimes, those are the breaks.

There's plenty reason for optimism as well. While Framber Valdez didn't look great in his start and the bullpen had their woes, Cristian Javier looked really in his outing, as did JP France. Hunter Brown pitched well enough even though he didn't go deep into the game. Jose Altuve, Yainer Diaz, and Jeremy Peña all had good series at the plate.

Was it ideal for the bullpen to lay repeated eggs or Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman to get off to slow starts this season? Absolutely not. However, the whole picture does matter here. We know that Justin Verlander should be back pretty soon, the rotation looked reasonable in his absence, and there is no world where the Astros' best hitters remain cold.

Houston will be just fine, although we can all agree this was the worst start possible. Let's see how the Yankees hold up as the year progresses. They're bound to blow against us at some point.

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