HOUSTON – These aren’t your 2019 Astros, which may be the club by which future Houston teams will be judged in the regular season. They don’t have a Cy Young one-two combo at the top of the rotation like Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, and they probably aren’t going to set a Major League record in slugging percentage like they did a year ago. a few years.
This year’s Astros aren’t disappearing from the elite ranks and are looking to win for a fifth straight place in the American League championship series. The Astros improved to a season-high five of .500 (22-17) with a 10-4 win – their fourth straight win – over the Rangers on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.
In a season where pitchers dominate and offense is down, the Astros continue to show strength with one of the most powerful lineups in the game. Even without Jose Altuve, who had a day off on Friday, the Astros posted double-digit runs for the 15th time in 39 games.
“Our roster just intensified and got a few points on the board like we try to do every night,” said right fielder Kyle Tucker.
The Astros clocked a season-high eight marches and hit double-digit hits for the third straight game on Friday, taking a 7-1 lead after three innings, toppling Rangers starter Wes Benjamin for three runs in 1 2/3 innings and the Brett lifter. de Geus for four points in a third of a set.
Martín Maldonado added a two-run homerun in the fifth as the bottom third of the Astros’ order – Tucker, Myles Straw and Maldonado – combined to go 6 for 10 with four runs and seven RBIs.
“They come strong. This is something we were hoping for, is that the low end would pass, especially some days when the mid or high doesn’t do their job, ”said Astros director Dusty Baker. “Michael [Brantley] and Breggy [Alex Bregman] are the only ones not affected. It’s important when you can count on everyone and not just a few guys.
Here’s a look at some of the damage the Astros have been doing as a team and individually recently:
• The Astros have won seven of their last nine games, in which they cut .299 / .376 / .525 with 18 doubles, 17 homers and 39 walks. They are averaging 6.7 points and 1.9 home runs per game during this period.
• After 39 games, the Astros’ point differential is plus-51, which is the second-best in the major leagues behind the White Sox (plus-64). Houston’s point differential over the past 22 games is plus-52, in which the club are 15-7.
• Designated hitter Yordan Alvarez has cut .412 / .412 / .765 in his last 12 games with five homers and no walks. He had three of the four worst-hit balls in Friday’s game at 108.7, 106.4 and 106.1 mph.
• Tucker is 10 for 21 in the last six games with three homers and nine RBIs. He cut .476 / .560 / 1.048 in that span and increased his average by 37 points, his base percentage by 52 points and his slugging percentage .110 in those six games.
• First baseman Yuli Gurriel drew on Friday and now has more walks (20) than strikeouts (19) in 156 appearances at home. In his last seven games, Gurriel is 10 for 25 with three homers and 10 RBIs and cuts .400 / .467 / .840 with a 1,307 OPS. He’s been pulled out twice in his last 30 home plate appearances.
• Altuve, who was not in the roster on Friday, cut .389 / .436 / .694 with three homers and eight RBIs in their last eight games. This follows a 2-for-28 drop that coincided with his return from a stay on the COVID Injury List. He will be back in the lineup on Saturday.