The loss of their top player to free agency could have sent the Astros into a tailspin before the season even began. Instead, Houston is flourishing in the AL West.
On Thursday, the Astros (21-11) completed a sweep of the Twins to extend MLB’s longest current win streak to 10. With victories in 14 of the last 16, they’ve passed the Angels for the top spot in the West and lead by a half-game.
After losing star shortstop Carlos Correa, who signed a three-year, $105.3 million deal with Minnesota, the Astros made the smart decision to ink veteran starter Justin Verlander to a one-year, $25 million contract to anchor a pitching staff that has been nothing short of spectacular.
- Houston leads the AL in team ERA (2.73) and WHIP (1.09) and is second in batting average against (.215).
- During the winning streak, the Astros have yielded only nine earned runs with five shutouts and a 0.90 ERA.
- The 39-year-old Verlander is 4-1 with a 1.55 ERA (2nd in AL), 0.64 WHIP (1st), and .150 BAA (1st).
- Luis Garcia, who’s playing on a one-year, $1.3M contract, is 3-1 with a 2.94 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.
Pitching may be at the forefront of the Astros’ success, but hitting isn’t far behind. During the streak, they have outscored opponents 49-11 and improved their run differential from minus-4 to plus-34.
Leading the way has been rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena (.448 with 10 RBI in the last 10 games), as well as Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez (4 HR each).
Bookmakers are increasingly on board for a trip to the stratosphere: The Astros currently have the fifth-best odds (+850) to win their first World Series since 2017.