Can Houston finish May as strong as they've started?

A look ahead at the rest of May for the Astros

Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

After the four-game sweep of the Rangers in Houston this past weekend, that puts Houston on a five-game winning streak and also has them 8-3 so far in the month of May. Can they continue to win series at this rate and keep extending their devision lead all the way to the end of the month?

Looking at the schedule the rest of this month, the Astros have a few easily-winnable matchups and then a few tougher matchups that could give them some trouble. Let's take a look at what's coming up as we draw nearer to the halfway point in the season:

Verlander returns to Detroit

Starting tonight, the Astros will be in Detroit for a three-game series against the Tigers. Detroit is two games below .500 and third place in the AL Central sitting 6.5 games behind the division-leading Twins. The Astros went 5-1 against the Tigers in 2018, sweeping the three-game series in Detroit. The one game they lost? At home in Houston with Verlander on the mound for the first time against his old team. In that game, JV went six innings during which he allowed five earned runs. To his credit, he faced them again later in the season, in Detroit, and got the win with seven innings of two-run baseball.

Verlander will be on the mound in the final game of the series on Wednesday, and I would fully expect he'll be prepared to lead the Astros towards a series sweep since it's entirely possible Houston makes easy work of Detroit in this series and continues dominating at the plate against the Tigers.

Six games with Boston 

After the series with the Tigers, Houston will get a day off in Boston before a weekend series with the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Those three games will be the first of six over a ten-game span in an anticipated rematch of last year's ALCS. Boston had a really rough start to the year but are 8-2 over their last ten and have been, like the Astros, dominating their opponents with strong offense.

One of the intriguing matchups in this weekend's series, if the currently projected starters pitch, is Chris Sale vs. Corbin Martin. Martin was great in his debut on Mother's Day, and if given a longer pitch count to work with in his second start could have a juicy matchup with Boston's bats. After that series, next weekend the Red Sox will come to Houston for a weekend series to complete the season series. if the Astros can take four or more of those games, that would be a good confidence booster for a potential matchup in the playoffs in October.

White Sox kick off a long home stand 

Sandwiched between the six games with Boston is a four-game series with the White Sox in Houston that starts a week from today. This should be one of the more winnable series left this month, with the White Sox sitting seven games back in their division and three games below .500. This series should also hopefully bring the return of Jose Altuve off of the injured list, which should be a nice boost to the team to push them past Chicago in the series.

One reason the Astros should find a way to win most if not all of these four games is that the White Sox have the second worst team ERA in the MLB at 5.32, so the Astros should feast on that pitching staff in Minute Maid Park, with or without Altuve at full strength.

Matchup with the surging Cubs before Houston travels West 

The Astros and Cubs will kick off a three-game set starting on Memorial Day here in Houston. The Cubs are right up there with the Astros as one of the top teams in the league right now, leading their division ten games above .500 at 24-14. This will be an interesting matchup since it will be the only three times these teams play this year, and with it being in Houston, will mean the Cubs will get to add a DH to their lineup. This series is farther away and hard to predict, but the Astros should be given the edge since they've been smashing at home.

After that series, the Astros will head to the west coast for a six-game trip to take on two AL-West foes starting with a series in Oakland that starts on May 31st. That trip will be important for the Astros who, hopefully, will have maintained or extended their current 6.5 game division lead.


With May being just the second full month of baseball, we still have a lot of baseball yet to play in this season. However, if Houston can come out of May with a lot of momentum and a large division lead, they can set themselves up for a strong and manageable rest of the season.

Astros drop series finale to Boston

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 4-1 loss

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After the thrilling walk-off win on Saturday night, the Astros had Justin Verlander on the mound Sunday looking to sweep this series and make it a 5-1 season series with the Red Sox. Here's a rundown of the game:

Final Score: Red Sox 4, Astros 1

Record: 35-19, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Eduardo Rodriguez (5-3, 5.04 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Justin Verlander (8-2, 2.38 ERA).

1) Correa picks up where he left off

After driving in the winning run with a walk-off RBI-single the night before, Carlos Correa gave Houston their first run of the day in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI-single. That run would be the only one of the game for Houston, though, as they'd get just four hits during the afternoon.

2) Good, but not good enough for Verlander

Justin Verlander brought his 8-1 record and 2.24 ERA to the mound on Sunday but would have a mediocre start by his standards. Verlander allowed a couple of runs by his own doing, one on a sac fly in the third after a runner made it to third after a couple of wild pitches, Verlander's first of the year.

Boston took the lead in the fourth on a solo home run, then later would make it 3-1 by scoring on a couple of defensive errors for the Astros, giving Verlander three earned runs on the day. His final line: seven innings pitched, six hits, three runs, zero walks, and six strikeouts. The strikeouts moved him over 2,800 in his career, ending his day at 2,801 which is just two away from Cy Young who has 2,803 at number 22 on the all-time leaderboard.

Josh James was first out of Houston's bullpen and pitched a scoreless eighth, then Framber Valdez pitched the ninth during which Boston would extend the lead to 4-1 which would go down as the final score.

3) Diaz exits with yet another leg injury

Aledmys Diaz would exit the game after crossing home in the first inning, tweaking his hamstring and making yet another Houston player to go out with a leg issue. Tyler White would come in to cover first base allowing Yuli Gurriel to move to second, then later in the game Tony Kemp would pinch-hit and move to second and Gurriel back to first. It's unclear so far how much time Diaz will miss.

This injury would come just one day after catcher Max Stassi left a game with a knee issue, resulting in the call-up of Garret Stubbs to take over the second catcher's spot behind Robinson Chirinos.

Up Next: With this series in the books the Astros will finish this homestand with a three-game series with their old NL-Central rivals, the Cubs. They'll start the series with a Memorial Day game which will get started at 1:10 PM and feature pitchers Gerrit Cole (4.5, 4.11 ERA) for Houston and Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.38 ERA) for Chicago.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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