Over the course of this young season, the two hottest teams that people have been talking about are the Boston Red Sox, 12-2, and the New York Mets, 11-1. However, the team favored to go back to the World Series and win it, the Houston Astros, have been lost in the American League, and in their division.
The Astros are currently at 10-4 which puts them a game and a half behind the Angles, a team that has been stealing the show in the AL West. Shohei Ohtani, the dual threat phenomena from Japan, has been the hype of the MLB so far this season. In Spring Training, Ohtani was not able to perform as a hitter or a pitcher. With an ERA above 7.00 and an average under .200, Ohtani appeared to be a bust.
However, now that the games matter, Ohtani has kicked it into gear. As a result, he and the Angels have been stealing the Astros’ thunder in the division. Even though Houston is not tanking, 10-4 is a very respectable record, the Astros are not seen as a powerhouse in the American League alongside the Red Sox and Angels.
Gerrit Cole found his way into the record books during his last outing against the Rangers. Cole is the first pitcher since 1900 to record 10 or more strikeouts in his first 3 starts with a team. Cole was acquired this past offseason in a trade with the Pirates. He ended the game with a total of 14 strikeouts to top off a 3-2 win in Houston.
What was even more impressive about that outing was that Cole was able to strikeout 14 batters by only throwing 93 pitches. Cole is the first person to throw that many pitches and have 14 strikeouts.
However, Cole is not the only pitcher that has found success on this roster. The Astros have three aces on their squad that can give them a chance to win every time they are on the mound. The other two pitchers are Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel.
Verlander, the opening day starter, has had three stellar starts this season. He is currently 2-0 with an ERA of 1.45 with 23 strikeouts. For the longest time, Verlander was the ace of the Detroit Tigers. He was acquired around the trade deadline last year and has continued to dominate in his new home of Houston.
Keuchel, who was Houston’s opening day starter last year, has been off to a cold start. In three starts he has a gone 0-2 with a 4.20 ERA. Even though he is not the ace of this team anymore, Keuchel is better than a number three starter, but with this stacked rotation, that is where he is listed. Keuchel was off to a slow start last season but was able to finish 14-2 with a 2.90 ERA. Look for Keuchel to turn in around in the next few weeks to add to this lethal rotation.
Jose Altuve, last year’s AL MVP, has started this season right where he left off last season. He is currently batting with a .352 batting average in 54 at bats. He does not have a home run yet, but Altuve has one of the highest on base percentages in the league.
Another hitter off to a hot start, who isn’t a household name like he used to be, is Brian McCann. Brain McCann has started the year with a .345 average in 29 at bats. With an aging veteran such as McCann, it will be important for him to prove he can still produce and be a threat in this lineup.
Unfortunately, the other big bats in this lineup, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman, have been over to a slow start. These two hitters, hitting .289 and .226 respectively, have not been able to find their hot streaks yet. However, once they do, expect this team to be on top of the Angles before the All-Star break. The MLB has seen what this lineup can do in the past, and they should be just as successful this year once their bats get hot.