5 important stats that speak volumes about the Astros

Ryan Pressly leads the team with a 1.69 ERA. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Last week the Astros swept the Orioles and split a series with the Detroit Tigers 2-2.

While in Baltimore, Houston out scored the orange birds by a combined margin of 26-3. The largest run differential of the season against any opponent. The Astros have a +142 run differential this season, the best in baseball by far.

Houston was riding an 11-game winning streak before the start of Saturday's doubleheader against the Tigers. Detroit won the first game 3-1 snapping the streak.

Even though their streak ended, the Astros still remain in first place in the American League with a 48-30 record.

Houston's winning ways have come on the heels of great offensive numbers, starting pitchers improving, a much better bullpen, and stellar play from a couple of potential All-Stars.

Seven Astros advanced to the second phase of the MLB All-Star voting process on Sunday.

Houston's entire starting infield (Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman) finished in the top three of their respective positions, along with designated hitter Yordan Alvarez and catcher Martin Maldonado.

Michael Brantley advanced as well, but outfielder Kyle Tucker just missed the cut finishing 10th in fan voting among outfielders in the American League.

Starting pitching has been improving as the season progresses. Jake Odorizzi, Zack Greinke, Jose Urquidy and Lance McCullers all earned wins this week. Houston has been using a 6-man rotation with the aforementioned pitchers and both Luis Garcia and Framber Valdez to round out the rotation. This configuration could work well for the Astros moving forward.

After getting off to a rocky start, the Astros bullpen has been steadily improving over their last couple of games. Over their last 27 games, Houston has the best bullpen ERA at 2.63. Ryan Pressly leads the team with a 1.69 ERA and has become one of the most reliable closers in the league with 12 saves.

Myles Straw has show the most improvement over the last two months. On May 1st, Straw had a .213 batting average and was more or less just trying to prove he belongs on this roster. Now the center fielder has a .270 batting average with 2 home runs and has improved substantially as an outfielder.

Up Next: Houston starts a short three game home stand against the Baltimore Orioles, before a 4-game road trip to Cleveland to face the Indians during 4th of July weekend.

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The Houston Texans have just a couple of practices before their preseason debut. Here are 11 observations from Tuesday’s workout.

1.The offense stunk on Tuesday. It was inconsistent and resembled more of last year’s disappointing performances than any other practices in this training camp.

2. Davis Mills and his receivers had a few miscommunications on Tuesday. Mills sailed a pass to nobody when he and Brandin Cooks weren’t on the same page. There were some other throws to nowhere in the day. It was something that hadn’t been present at all in training camp to this point.

3. There were a few “good coverage” notes on Tuesday. Not to say there was one specific player, but a handful of team-level efforts that led to the note.

4. It wasn’t all wrong from the offense. After a pass to nowhere Davis Mills and the offense bounced back. It was a second down during a team drill and Mills fired a pass to Chris Moore for six yards. Rex Burkhead would pick up a first down on a rush a play later. A non-positive play last year on first down doomed this team. That hopefully won’t be the case for this year’s team.

5. Chad Beebe is going into his fifth season in the NFL, his first with the Texans. The former Vikings pass catcher has flashed a few times in training camp. He has an uphill battle being new to the team but is trying to make himself a factor.

6. Phillip Dorsett had a big catch over the middle. Davis Mills stood back and delivered as the offensive line held up and Dorsett reeled it in for a huge gain. No defenders were around him. It is between Dorsett and Chris Moore for the chance to be the slot wideout opening day. With Dorsett’s return to practice, it is becoming a fun camp battle.

7.Speaking of returns to practice, Tytus Howard was back. Howard has his reps managed and after practice, offensive line coach George Warhop Howard was “getting his wind” back. When Howard was having his reps managed rookie tackle Austin Deculus played at right tackle. Deculus looks much more consistent than minicamp and OTAs.

8. Kenyon Green is still out with an injury. It is getting to a critical time where the time missed might prevent the first-rounder from starting week one. Max Scharping hasn’t looked bad in his chances with the first team. Offensive line coach George Warhop said they believe in Green and his ability and he has been in meetings to stay up to date.

9. Ka’imi Fairbairn was perfect in one of the special team periods. He drilled all five kicks, each further than the last, and was crushing the football.

10. Derek Stingley was very sticky in some early reps on Nico Collins. The third overall pick is so smooth when he is working. Later his coverage forced a throw from the offense that had no chance of being completed.

11. The play of the day was made by Derek Stingley. The offense was about five or six yards out of the end zone needing a touchdown to win. With six seconds left on the clock, any completed pass that wasn’t a touchdown was game over. Davis Mills dropped back a step and fired to Nico Collins who Stingley covered. The rookie kept the second-year player out of the end zone to earn the defense a win. This was one of the better Stingley days and he did a lot of work. At one point, it looked as though he and Rex Burkhead had some words and almost led to an offense and defense scuffle, but it stayed to just some shouting. The rookie shined today.

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