WEEK IN REVIEW – MAY 14-20
ASTROS (4-2, 30-18 overall)
Monday, May 14 – Angels 2, Astros 1
Tuesday, May 15 – Astros 5, Angels 3
Wednesday, May 16 – Astros 2, Angels 0
Friday, May 18 – Astros 4, Indians 1
Saturday, May 19 – Indians 5, Astros 4
Sunday, May 20 – Astros 3, Indians 1
The Astros held two of baseball’s best offenses to an average of two runs a game this week. Neat.
I was also pleased to see some fight in the team during Saturday’s game. Even though they ended up losing, the almost-comeback was very reminiscent of last year’s team.
ELSEWHERE IN THE AL WEST…
The Mariners (27-19) went 4-2 against the Rangers and Tigers, and have risen to second place in the division.
After dropping the series to the Astros, the Angels (26-21) dropped three of four to the Rays.
The A’s (25-22) went gangbusters on the AL East, winning two of three in Boston and then sweeping the Blue Jays in four games in Toronto.
In addition to splitting a two-game series with the M’s, the Rangers (18-30) dropped four games to the lowly White Sox. Sad trombone.
ELSEWHERE IN MLB…
Since taking two out of three against the Astros, the D’Backs (25-21) have lost 11 of 13, including sweeps by the Nationals (four games) and Mets. Suddenly, the Rockies have pulled into a first-place tie in the NL West.
Speaking of first place ties, the Yanks and Sawks are running away with the AL East and baseball’s offensive stats.
THE WEEK AHEAD – MAY 21-27
Giants @ Astros – May 22-23
Schedule and Probables
Tuesday, May 22, 7:10pm CDT
Andrew Suarez (1-3, 4.88) vs. Gerrit Cole (4-1, 1.75)
Wednesday, May 23, 1:10pm CDT
Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 6.30) vs. Justin Verlander (5-2, 1.05)
The Giants (24-24) have been a streaky team. After sinking to 8-12 on the season in late April, they won 11 of their next 14, then lost nine of their next 14 (including six straight losses). The San Fran offense is pretty much average or slightly better in a number of categories, although their .261 team average is the fourth best in the sport. The pitching is less average, with a 4.20 ERA placing them 20th. Only one starter (Johnny Cueto) has an ERA below 4.
Suarez made his major league debut with just one start in April before being sent down to AAA for the better part of the month. He came back up in early May and allowed two earned runs over his next 12.1 innings, but now has allowed nine runs over his last ten innings. Despite his struggles he has maintained a healthy 28:5 K:BB ratio. Samardzija is on pace for his worst big league season as a starter, sporting a 1.60 WHIP, nearly as many walks (18) as strikeouts (23), and having allowed five runs or more three times while just twice pitching past the 5th inning.
Cole has given Giants hitters fits, keeping them to just a .314 slugging percentage. Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen are the only SF batters that Verlander has a decent sample size against, and they make up 55 of the 71 total ABs against him. Overall, he’s held them to a .197 average.
Astros @ Indians – May 24-27
Schedule and Probables
Thursday, May 24, 5:10pm CDT
Charlie Morton (6-0, 1.94) vs. Mike Clevinger (3-1, 2.87)
Friday, May 25, 6:10pm CDT
Dallas Keuchel (3-6, 3.43) vs. Corey Kluber (7-2, 2.36)
Saturday, May 26, 6:10pm CDT
Lance McCullers Jr. (6-2, 3.20) vs. Carlos Carrasco (5-3, 3.65)
Sunday, May 27, 12:10pm CDT
Gerrit Cole (4-1, 1.75) vs. Tyler Bauer (3-3, 2.59)
We literally just saw three of these exact same matchups, so there’s not much sense in doing another deep dive. But Sunday’s Cole/Bauer matchup is new, and it’s the matchup every baseball writer in North America has been hoping and praying for for the last few weeks.
Bauer is off to a good start, with only one clunker against the Royals. One particularly depressing statistic about Bauer is that he has won all seven of his starts against the Astros in his career dating back to 2014. That even included last season when he allowed seven runs (and four homers) to Houston in 11.2 innings.
Cole does not have significant experience against Indians hitters, but in 25 ABs they are hitting .320 against him despite just two extra-base hits and no walks or home runs.