There’s an old saying in baseball: You can’t win a division in April.
The Astros would like to remind everyone that it’s not April anymore. Fresh off a series win over second-place Anaheim, Houston is looking more and more like the team to beat in the AL West – if not the entire league.
The surging ‘Stros relied evenly on bats and arms to stifle the Angels in their home park. Shortstop Carlos Correa sparked the victory in game one, driving in Jose Altuve in extra innings to give Houston a critical 7-6 lead.
In game two, it was the Angels who provided the theatrics. Lance McCullers Jr. baffled Los Angeles hitters over seven brilliant innings, but the Astros suffered a walk-off 2-1 defeat at the hands of light-hitting shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
Happily, game three saw the visiting bats reawaken. Altuve and Evan Gattis each connected for long home runs to back starting pitcher Mike Fiers and send the ‘Stros home on a high note.
Tonight, Houston returns to Minute Maid Park for a quick bite of home cookin’ against an unfamiliar foe. The two-game set against the hapless Atlanta Braves is Houston’s first interleague series of 2017. Plenty of seats are available for both contests – Charlie Morton fires the first pitch at 7:10 tonight, with Joe Musgrove slated to start the Wednesday matinee.
Scoop up your tickets while you can – if the Astros continue to rack up victories, there won’t be many empty seats this summer.
Two Number Ones
In 2012, the Astros selected Carlos Correa first overall in the MLB amateur draft. Three years later, it was Dansby Swanson’s turn. To the Atlanta faithful, Swanson represents what Correa was for the Astros two years ago – a sign of brighter days ahead. The hyper-talented shortstops face off for the first time Tuesday night.
Babes vs. Bartolo
According to MLB.com, 43-year-old Atlanta starter Bartolo Colón joined the Cleveland Indians as an amateur free agent in 1992. Five players on the Astros’ active roster – Michael Feliz, Lance McCullers Jr., Joe Musgrove, Alex Bregman, and Correa – had yet to be born when Colón signed the dotted line.
Forgive Atlantans the occasional double-take when they see who the Astros are deploying behind the dish. Houston’s star catching corps of Brian McCann and Evan Gattis were both drafted and developed by the Braves.