Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Stro Away

 One year. ONE YEAR that I don't have to worry about the Houston Astros storming in and ruining everything. That is all I ask. I didn't think it was asking too much. But as apparently a terrible start and a lack of pitching isn't enough to deter these people, it seems to be asking too much. 

The Astros, after being comfortably 10 games under .500 for most of the season, had a winning streak and are now 5 games under .500, which puts them close to the Rangers, who've been struggling, and the Mariners, who just split a series with the Yanks. And it's one of those things where the winning streak, like the no-hitter, began out of spite towards the Yankees. Remember how the Yanks swept the Astros in a 4-game opening series, and then Ronel Blanco and his tack took it out on the Blue Jays? The Yanks took two more from the Astros at home, and then after finally winning their first game against the Yankees in over a year, the Astros got so fired up that they kept going, sweeping Oakland a bunch of times and taking some crucial games away from the Brewers. They've just finished killing the A's again, which is a ton easier to do without all their good pitchers.

It's also easier for the Astros now that they have some of their pitchers back. Verlander, Valdez and Javier are all active, and they're all doing...decently. JV's the obvious crowdpleaser, he's got a 3.60 ERA and is slowly creeping up the all-time K list. Javier's got a 3.89 ERA, and while he's not as dominant as he was in the past few years, he's still capable of a lot. I think Framber's worn out a bit from overthrowing in the last two seasons but he's still making starts and doing alright. Pretty much the only starter truly getting killed every few days is Spencer Arrighetti, but that's not as bad now that A.) Hunter Brown's down in the pen and B.) there's four viable options again. 

So now that there's actually a halfway decent rotation, and now that Josh Hader's improved a bit in the ninth, the lineup, who was already doing well, can lead this team to wins. And it's the same old schtick. Altuve's hitting damn near .300 with some home runs, Tucker leads the league in homers and nobody's thinking about the fact that he might be out of here soon. Jeremy Pena is hitting .320, leading the team in hits, and playing decent shortstop, despite the fact that I don't think he's been terribly inconvenienced his entire Houston career. Jake Meyers, Mauricio Dubon and now this Joey Loperfido kid are providing cool support. Even the guys doing okay are still hitting. And so they're bulldozing people.

This week, the Astros have to play the Mariners. And this never goes well because the way the schedule works, the Astros always have to play the Mariners right when the Astros have gained momentum and the Mariners have lost momentum. The scheduling people probably do this by design. Manfred gives them an extra nickel for it. But even if the Mariners have the better pitching, and now have Ryan Bliss up in the majors, I still have this terrible feeling that the Astros are gonna keep rolling and level the division some more. And I am really, absolutely sick of the Astros barging in on an AL West race that didn't concern them. It's my least favorite thing, and it keeps happening.

So go Mariners. I hope they can rebound nicely from the Yankees outdoing them last week.

Coming Tonight: Despite a run-in with the Phillies, this guy's having another great season in a career of many.

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