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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Jalen Green is poised for a breakout season. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

NBA Training Camp is upon us. That also means media day for NBA has taken place as well. Teams and their fan bases are all excited about the prospects for the upcoming season. Anticipation for what's to come is high. Teams will always keep their minds on the task at hand. It's the fans that need to stay engaged. They also can tell when a season isn't going to go well and will check out quickly if things are off the rails.

The Rockets come into the 2022-23 season with more promise than the previous couple of seasons. They have some young talent ready to breakout. They also have some vets on hand to help those young guys out. While I'm not expecting a playoff run, it wouldn't surprise me to see them challenge for a play-in spot. Here are three reasons Rockets fans should be excited for this season:

Jalen Green's continued growth and development: Green had a coming out party towards the end of his rookie year. Over his last 10 games, Green failed to score more than 23 points twice. Six of those games he scored 30 or more. His efficiency went up as he learned shot selection and choosing his spots. He started allowing the game to come to him and/or forcing the action when necessary. This kid loves the game and truly wants to get better. I believe we'll see a more polished version of Green this season. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he took a leap in every major statistical category. A first time All-Star? I think it's a possibility.

Jabari Smith Jr. will be everything Christian Wood should've been and then some: Wood gained a rep for being a bit aloof. He wasn't very self-aware, and seemed to be more self-absorbed than a team player. While his play as a stretch four was good, Smith Jr. can be that much better. Wood wasn't a consistent defender and his efforts showed. Smith Jr. seems to take pride in his defense. That alone is worth the change. Having a former NBA player as a dad and growing up around the game has given him the desire to be great. He's seen what this life has to offer. He knows what it takes to be great and appears poised to take the league by storm. Personally, I think he's the perfect fit for the Rockets. Future All-Star player for sure.

A playoff appearance isn't out of the question: With the NBA sticking with the play-in format for the final two playoff spots, it gives 10 teams in each conference a chance to make the playoffs. If 20 of the 30 teams make it and the Rockets can't make at least a push to get one of those final spots, I'll be shocked. These guys are young, hungry, and eager to make their marks on the league. Never underestimate a guy looking for an extension such as Kevin Porter Jr. Throw in Tari Eason, Green, Smith Jr., Alperen Sengun...and you have the makings of a feisty young squad with hunger that can only be spelled by winning.

Gone are the 20-win seasons. Heck, 30-win seasons may be a thing of the past as well. Brighter times are ahead for this team. If they show signs of being a viable contender, who's to say general manager Rafael Stone doesn't use some assets to make a trade for a superstar player they believe can help get this team to make a run in the playoffs? Armed with young talent and a bevy of picks, this team is poised to win at some point. Maybe it's this season. Don't be shocked if they end up playing past the play-in games.

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