Let's discuss the top 5 reasons for the Astros' recent success

Kyle Tucker has improved tremendously at the plate. Composite image by Jack Brame.

The Astros finished the week with a 5-2 record and back-to-back series victories over the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays.

As it currently stands, Houston has a 33-26 record, one game behind the Oakland A's for first place in the American League West.

The Astros recent success can be attributed to both starting pitching and great offensive stretches by certain players.

Zack Greinke is showcasing he is still a legitimate ace for this pitching staff. On Friday he tossed his first complete game since April 19, 2017 and seems to be settling into a nice groove as the season progresses. The veteran pitcher has a 6-2 record with a 3.38 ERA and has only given up two runs in back-to-back starts, as he continues to prove he is one of the best pitchers in the league. With Greinke at the top of this rotation, Houston has a pitcher they can rely on to go at least six or more innings in every start.

After starting his season with a 0-3 record, Astros' pitcher Luis Garcia has earned a victory in his last five starts. Garcia has a 1.82 ERA during that span and has proven he fits right into this rotation. On Sunday, he pitched six innings of work for his third consecutive start and lowered his ERA to 2.75 for the season. Garcia was a spot starter filling in for Framber Valdez and Jake Odorizzi when they were on the injured list. Little did the Astros know that this spot starter would turn into one of their most formidable pitchers of the year.

Chas McCormick has hit safely in seven of his last eight starts, batting .250 (7-for-28) with three extra-base hits and six RBIs over that span. The fourth outfielder has played well in the absence of Michael Brantley and has proven he can be a contributing factor for the Astros in the field and at the plate as well.

Kyle Tucker and Myles Straw have improved tremendously at the plate. Tucker is batting .354 (35-for-99) with seven doubles, a triple, six homers and 21 RBIs in his last 25 games. He has drastically improved after starting the month of May with a .173 batting average and leads the team with 11 homer runs. Straw has steadily been increasing his average as well. On May 1st, he was hitting .213, but now has a .242 average. The Astros already have a stout lineup with Jose Atluve, Carlos Correa, Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel. If they can get great production from both Tucker and Straw on a consistent basis, the sky is the limit for this offense.

Injury bug

Aledmys Diaz was hit by a pitch that subsequently fractured his hand. He will miss 6-8 weeks according to reports, but the move comes when Michael Brantley is set to return to the Astros on Tuesday, June 8th. Brantley's bat returning to the lineup will help the Astros tremendously and could further emphasize just how potent this offense could be. Before the veteran outfielder went on the 10-day injured list, he had a .305 batting average with three home runs and 15 RBIs. Slotting him back into the second spot in the Astros batting order will do nothing but enhance this already tremendous offense.

Up Next: The Astros head to Boston to play their final series of the season against the Red Sox on Tuesday.

Framber Valdez, Jake Odorizzi, and Zack Greinke should take the mound for the Astros this series.

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A new hotel is in the works near Minute Maid. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Astros owner Jim Crane says the team is ready to break ground on a major construction project that will include a hotel and entertainment complex across the street from Minute Maid Park as soon as the 2023 baseball season wraps up – hopefully with another World Series parade in downtown Houston.


But another hotel? Another entertainment complex? More construction downtown? My first reaction was, how much more does Houston need? I remember when the Super Bowl was held in Houston in 2004, clubs and restaurants sprung up downtown practically overnight, only to disappear virtually the morning after. When it came to downtown development, the expression “less is more” turned out true. At least that Super Bowl.

I asked my contacts in government and the Houston welcome wagon, is this a good idea, building a hotel and entertainment complex next door to Minute Maid Park? Do we need it? Can we sustain it?

The answer every time was a resounding yes! For a couple of reasons: first, downtown Houston, coming out of Covid, is booming, leadership is creative and budget-minded these days, and most important, if Jim Crane is behind the idea, you can trust it’ll work. The guy’s got a track record.

“In 2004, the idea was to turn downtown’s Main Street into Bourbon Street. Is that what we really want? It was a misguided plan, the wrong philosophy, and businesses opened and closed in short order,” a source told me.

It was a different story when the Super Bowl returned to Houston in 2017. This time Houston saw the Marriott Marquis, a 1,000-room hotel complete with an iconic Texas-shaped swimming pool, open in time for the tourist onslaught. Also, Avenida Houston greeted downtown visitors with new restaurants and entertainment venues. Both the Marriott and Avenida Houston have continued to thrive long after the Super Bowl left town.

“We want our downtown to attract visitors while providing services for the growing number of singles and families who are making their home downtown. As we continue to host major events and conventions, there will be a need for more hotel rooms,” the source said.

The Astros’ plan to build a sprawling hotel and entertainment complex originally was discussed in 2021 but was put on hold due to Covid. Now Crane and the Astros are ready to come out swinging. Similar complexes operate successfully next to the baseball stadium in St. Louis, Chicago and other cities.

An Astros-themed hotel adjacent to Minute Maid Park is particularly intriguing. The lobby could be home to an Astros museum and team Hall of Fame. Rooms and restaurants could be decorated in honor of Astros legends – the “Nolan Ryan honeymoon suite,” or “Strech Suba’s Bullpen Bar and Grille.” There could be meeting space for autograph and memorabilia shows. There could be a broadcast facility for post-game interviews and analysis. And maybe one day, fingers crossed, a betting parlor like the Cubs have at Wrigley Field.

The Astros have a contract to play at Minute Maid Park through 2050 – the only long-term contract that doesn’t make Crane cringe. Anything that enhances the fan experience and generates revenue is good for the team and the city. I might even consider going downtown on non-game nights.

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