Improbable Hunter Brown stat brings Astros fans relief amid injury concerns

Hunter Brown has been lights out of late.
Houston Astros pitcher Hunter Brown
Houston Astros pitcher Hunter Brown / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

Hunter Brown's 2024 campaign did not get off on the right foot. The right-hander lost four of his first five starts and the April 11 showing against the Kansas City Royals was easily the worst performance of his professional career.

Astros fans won't want to relive that awful night, but as a reminder, Brown didn't make it out of the first inning before surrendering nine runs on 11 hits without recording a strikeout. Things looked rather bleak.

But what a difference a month makes. After yet another gem tossed on Tuesday night, Brown has now collected seven quality starts in a row, which is the longest current streak in Major League Baseball. Brown went six innings and allowed just two hits while keeping the Colorado Rockies off the board. The Houston Astros won the game by a final score of 5-2.

Hunter Brown has been lights out while other Astros starters continue to battle injuries

Just how good has Brown over those seven starts? The right-hander is 4-1 with a sparkling 1.47 ERA and 48 punchouts in 43 innings of work. Brown has allowed 11 walks during those seven contests, but has kept the opposition off balance — they're hitting just a paltry .178 with a .242 on-base percentage. Brown is locked in.

Unfortunately, Brown's performance comes on the heels of another troubling update regarding one of Houston's injured starters. Former Cy Young Award-winner Justin Verlander was scratched from his previous start before being placed on the IL with a neck injury. The right-hander has been shut down from throwing, and Astros manager Joe Espada said he's progressing slower than the team anticipated.

This latest update on Verlander, in conjunction with the injury to rookie pitcher Jake Bloss and the losses of Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy to Tommy John surgery, only underscore the importance of Brown's recent string of quality outings.

The Astros will need more of the same from Brown and the rest of the starting rotation, as Houston looks to track down the AL West-leading Seattle Mariners.

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