When you start searching for what's wrong and all you can find is Tyler White, you're in pretty good shape.

Astros: Life is Good!

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These days if you're an Astros fan, there isn't a whole lot to complain about. Normally it's about this time of the season when critics, columnists, and fans start to pick apart the shortcomings and problem areas of their favorite baseball team. In years past it was easy to find a soft spot and ponder who should go, what prospects could help bring in veteran help and what a move or two could do to elevate the squad and put them on top of every list and power ranking heading into the postseason.

Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa celebrating in game one of the ALDS Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Well, this year it doesn't look like there is going to be a huge need for all that chatter as the team is rolling through the first few months of the season and show little signs of slowing down. In fact, with each passing day and the next game of the schedule, it seems as if they are only going to get better.

Astros Justin Verlander Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

As Houston wrapped up the offseason and entered spring training, the oddsmakers had the team in a neck and neck battle with the Red Sox and Yankees for supremacy in the American League and the best record in baseball. However questions swirled about the starting rotation and if they had enough depth and quality arms after losing Charlie Morton, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. from last years team. Would Wade Miley be an adequate replacement for one of those guys? Could Brad Peacock and Colin McHugh step up as they stepped back into a starting role? Would the bullpen suffer when those two solid arms were taken out of the middle relief and late game specialist assignments that they routinely excelled in a year ago? Could young arms like Josh James and Framber Valdez be ready to take the next step in their careers and become full-time Major Leaguers?

Roberto Osuna Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

As we get deeper into the second quarter of the season it looks less and less like any of these questions could become full-blown issues and instead look like a pitching staff that is poised to once again be considered one of the deepest and best collections of arms in all of baseball. Youngster Corbin Martin has been a pleasant surprise as he replaced McHugh in the rotation while having Colin back in the pen has given even more stability and flexibility to the bullpen that has been statistically the best in all of MLB. Justin Verlander is once again a leading candidate for the Cy Young Award and Gerrit Coles seems to be settling back into his dominant form of a year ago. Wade Miley has been better than advertised by Jeff Luhnow as he has posted quality start after solid outing while keeping his ERA low and his innings pitched high. The back end of the bullpen has been the best in baseball with Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna basically being lights out when they take the mound, putting teams on notice that if you are going to beat this Astros team, you better do it in the first 7 innings.

Astros Alex Bregman Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images


The lineup is ripping the cover off the ball, hitting for average while posting power numbers that put them in elite offensive company with not only the best teams in both leagues but some of the best of all time. Recently numbers, charts, and statistics have put this years offensive output in direct comparison to the all-time great 1927 Yankees. Sure it's still early but if they can keep it up for a full season and continue to dominate American League pitching, then the sky is the limit for how good the offensive production can be.

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

George Springer would be your AL MVP if the season ended today as he leads or is near the top in most offensive categories including average, home runs, hits and runs batted in. He is joined in most of those categories by newcomer Michael Brantley who has fit right in with his new squad after a career with Cleveland and has bolstered the middle of the batting order with his power stroke and timely base knocks. Josh Reddick has found his swing after a few up and down campaigns, as he is hitting well above .300, with power numbers on the rise and most importantly, good solid numbers against lefties as well as righties. Carlos Correa is healthy and that was all he needed to return to form as one of the best hitting shortstops in the game and Alex Bregman is heating back up after a slightly slower start than expected. This lineup is potent, deep, powerful and has the potential to be solid from 1 through 9 on a daily basis.

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Robinson Chirinos has answered all the questions behind the dish and with his bat, as he has lived up to the billing as a guy that has hit well at Minute Maid Park and has even stepped up on the road swinging a timely stick at the bottom of the order. Aledmys Diaz has made Luhnow look like a genius as he was hand-picked to replace the popular Marwin Gonzalez who left for big money and cooler temperatures in Minnesota. Diaz has been the swiss army knife on defense, filling in wherever and whenever AJ Hinch needs him and his bat has been better than expected with long ball power and solid contact whenever he is at the plate. If you think this team is good now and they can't get any better, just wait until Jose Altuve returns from the nagging hamstring injury that put him on the IL after a less than Altuve like start to the season. We have seen this story before as he has periodically struggled to start a season, only to have 200 hits and another silver slugger when all is said and done. If all you have to complain about with this years Astros team is Tyler White's lack of offense and Tony Kemp not hitting like he did last season, life is good and it may even get better!

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After a tightly contested ALCS Game 2, the Astros were able to come out on top with a 3-2 win to even the series. Justin Verlander threw a great game while Carlos Correa came through with the walk-off homer in the bottom of the eleventh inning.

In ALCS Game 1, it was all Yankees as they overpowered Houston at the plate and on the mound en route to a shutout victory to steal a road game to start the seven-game series. Houston turned their attention to Game 2 with a fully-rested Justin Verlander on the mound to try and even the series. Here is how the game unfolded:

Final Score (11 innings): Astros 3, Yankees 2.

Series: tied 1-1.

Winning Pitcher: Josh James.

Losing Pitcher: J.A. Happ.

Astros force Paxton out early after taking early lead


Houston's offense started on the right foot on Sunday in ALCS Game 2. After stranding a runner in the bottom of the first, the Astros scored first in the bottom of the second after Alex Bregman lasered a leadoff single, moved to second on a walk to Yordan Alvarez, advanced to third on a sacrifice fly by Yuli Gurriel, then scored on an RBI-double by Carlos Correa.

The run was a significant momentum boost for Houston, who had been shutout in the Game 1 loss. Although James Paxton would get through that inning with only one run allowed, he would allow back-to-back one-out singles in the bottom of the third, which prompted the Yankees to go to their bullpen early. The moved worked, as Houston would strand both runners to send the game to the fourth.

Verlander does his part


After three perfect innings for Justin Verlander, he would watch his 1-0 lead go away in the top of the fourth. New York's first baserunner of the night came on a leadoff walk allowed by Verlander to start the inning, which turned into a two-run home run blasted by Aaron Judge to center field to put the Yankees up 2-1 to erase Houston's lead.

Those would be the only runs allowed by Verlander, who would do an impressive job of holding the Yankees down over his start. The home run would be one of the few blemishes on a night he was able to induce outs and strikeouts to keep his team in it. He would continue into the seventh inning with a pitch count over 100, but after a two-out walk would be removed to end his night. His final line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR.

Correa wins it in extras

After going down 2-1 earlier in the game, Verlander would leave in a 2-2 tie thanks to a solo home run by George Springer in the bottom of the fifth. Will Harris was first out of Houston's bullpen to finish off the seventh, getting a strikeout for the third out. Harris stayed on the mound to start the eighth, getting an out before issuing a walk to prompt AJ Hinch to bring in his closer, Roberto Osuna.

He would get two quick outs to finish the top of the eighth, but New York's bullpen would also hold in the bottom of the inning to send the gridlocked game to the ninth. In the top of the ninth, Osuna would remain in the game and record a quick 1-2-3 frame to give Houston a chance to walk it off in the bottom half. In the bottom of the ninth, a pinch-hitting Aledmys Diaz would work a two-out walk against Aroldis Chapman, giving the Astros a baserunner, but he would be left on base after a strikeout of Springer to end the inning and force extras. Joe Smith was next out of Houston's bullpen to start the top of the tenth and was able to retire the Yankees in order on seven pitches.

In the bottom of the tenth, New York turned to CC Sabathia for a rare relief appearance to face left-handed Michael Brantley, who would ground out for the first out. Jonathan Loaisiga was next out for the Yankees to try and finish the tenth. Instead, he would issue back-to-back one-out walks, resulting in another move to bring in J.A. Happ. Happ would get out of the jam with a strikeout and flyout to move the game to the eleventh.

Smith would get two quick outs in the top of the eleventh before a walk would end his night in favor of Ryan Pressly, who would allow a single, resulting in another change to Josh James, who would get the third out after a lengthy at-bat. In the bottom of the inning, Carlos Correa evened the series with a solo home run to win the game.

Up Next: With the first two games in Houston accounted for, the ALCS will now shift to the Bronx. In Game 3 at 3:08 PM on Tuesday from New York, the pitching matchup will be the electric Gerrit Cole for Houston, who is 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA and 25 strikeouts after his two ALDS starts going up against Luis Severino who went four shutout innings in his ALDS start.

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

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