Tha Sports Junkies 101

How The Astros Got To 50 First

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How The Astros Got To 50 First

It seemed, for quite some time, that the only way to make it in this league was to have a dominant bullpen above all else. Though it is crucial, there are many other vital pieces needed to build a championship team. And it seems the Houston Astros have them being the first to 50 wins this season.

The Rotation

Having a solid rotation is of course vital. There is our ace, the guy you can depend on getting you a win in the postseason. The second ace, the guy you is probably just as good as your ace and would be that ace on almost any other team. Then the third guy who is solid and you can rely on at least four or five innings of just solid baseball. Finally the fourth guy you know will get you three or four quality innings. The Astros have these pieces.

The Ace’s

2016 Dallas Keuchel was without a doubt a disappointment. Following his 2015 campaign of claiming the Cy Young, it seemed Keuchel was just another one and done. Fortunately, Keuchel is back to his same old masterful self and is indeed that ace you can depend on starting a series off right in October. In 75 innings, Keuchel has the lowest ERA in all of baseball at 1.67. Granted the next lowest, Max Scherzer at 2.09, has 107 innings, Keuchel has still been impressive. We are getting a glimpse at 2015 Keuchel this year, and, potentially, he could have a better season. He’s on pace to.

Number two in the rotation is Lance McCullers Jr. He might be the best number two in the league right now. He has a great ERA, 2.58, and has better command than his previous seasons; proved by his already 89 strikeouts in late June. You can’t mention McCullers without talking about that wicked curveball.


Third and fourth in the rotation are Charlie Morton and Collin McHugh or Joe Musgrove. Right now, however, McHugh is on the 60-day DL. He’s only mentioned because it is expected of him to be healthy for the postseason.

The only thing holding them back in terms of the rotation is the injuries. All pitchers mentioned are either currently on or have been on the DL at some point this season. Not what a competing team wants. Fortunately, the starters not mentioned, Mike Fiers, David Paulino, Brad Peacock, Francis Martes, have had decent seasons and have kept the Astros not only afloat but flourishing. But that’s probably thanks to the amazing offense.

The Offense

To think of the Houston Astros, it is impossible not to have guys like Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer come to mind first. And rightfully so.

The Astros average 5.4 runs per game, only second to the New York Yankees. They have only been shut out twice this year. They scored 40 runs in a single three-game series.

A special thanks needs to be given to the bench. More specifically, Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez.

Marisnick, though hitting .255, has an on-base percentage of .342, slugging of .539 with 9 home runs and 20 runs batted in.

Gonzalez is batting .310, with an OBP of .400 and a slug of .577 with 12 home runs and 37 knocked in.

Those kinds of numbers off the bench is beyond impressive.

Of course, Altuve’s 11th best .322 batting average, Correa’s 46 RBIs and Springer’s 21 home runs (8 of which lead offs), help significantly. And the great offensive performances from Josh Reddick, Brian McCann, Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman are the heart and sole of the team, but that safety net the Astros bench provides is essential come playoff time.

The Bullpen

The Astros don’t have the same lights-out ‘pen like the Kansas City Royals did when they had their runs in 2014 and ‘15, but in the long run that shouldn’t be a key issue. Don’t be mistaken, though, the Astros bullpen is dominate, just no where near the ‘14 and ‘15 Royals.

Guys like Ken Giles, Will Harris, Chris Devenski can hold things down. Though he has had his struggles this season, Luke Gregerson can also keep the lead.


The only thing holding the Astros back is, of course, staying off the DL. Like mentioned before, at some point this season four of the best Astro starting pitchers have been on the DL. If they can stay healthy, keep off the DL, have Keuchel dominate like before he went down on the 10-day, and be a monster offensive threat, the Astros will be looking pretty good come October.