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.

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Yuli Gurriel had a monster night at the plate Friday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

Although they lost the series 2-1, the Astros ended their road trip with a nice win over the Yankees to head home on a positive note. On Friday, they welcomed in the Toronto Blue Jays and former teammate George Springer, currently on the IL, to start a three-game series and long homestand. They had an excellent night at the plate, along with a strong start from Jose Urquidy, cruising past the Blue Jays to take the opener.

Final Score: Astros 10, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 17-15, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (3-2)

Losing Pitcher: Ross Stripling (0-2)

Jays strike first, then Houston responds and never looks back

It first appeared that Urquidy may be in for a long night, giving up two solo home runs early in Friday's game, one to Bo Bichette in the top of the first with one out to put Toronto up 1-0, then another to Danny Jansen in the top of the third. However, Urquidy would lock-in, and his offense would back him up strongly.

Houston ended up sending nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the second, getting two runs on a homer by Carlos Correa, then later loading the bases to set up an RBI walk by Alex Bregman. In the bottom of the fifth, with a one-run lead at 3-2, Yuli Gurriel expanded the lead to three runs on a two-run shot.

Gurriel went on to have a fantastic night, going 4-for-4 at the plate with 4 RBI. His third of those came in the bottom of the seventh, extending the lead again with an RBI single to make it 6-2. Kyle Tucker made it a five-run game that same inning with an RBI double, then more insurance came in the bottom of the eighth. They reached double-digits that inning, with Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, and Yuli Gurriel, his fourth of the night, all getting an RBI to make it 10-2.

Urquidy finishes seven, then Emanuel finishes it off

Those gave Urquidy plenty of support, though he would bounce back after the two early homers and have a nice night on the mound. He allowed just two other hits, working around both, en route to a seven-inning two-run performance to earn him the win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 84 P.

He likely could have gone longer, but Dusty Baker turned the ball over to Kent Emanuel to wrap things up with the significant lead. He did so, despite allowing a two-run home run to former-Astro Teoscor Hernandez in the top of the ninth to make the score 10-4. The win kept the Astros above .500 and two games back of the A's, who sit atop the AL West standings.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be a 6:10 PM start Saturday night. The pitching matchup will be Steven Matz (4-2, 4.78 ERA) for Toronto and the electric Cristian Javier (3-0, 1.75 ERA) for Houston.

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