ASTROS REPORT

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

Astros Tucker, Valdez, Correa, Maldonado
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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The Astros rotation looks like a strength moving forward. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros are coming off a much-needed series win over the White Sox, but have a quick turnaround as they host the Orioles on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

The 'Stros dropped the first game of the series with Framber Valdez on the mound, but were able to rebound with Hunter Brown and Spencer Arrighetti starting the final two games.

Brown was brilliant once again, and Arrighetti bounced back after a disastrous start against the Tigers over the weekend. Despite all the injures to the Astros staff this season, their young pitchers are stepping up when they need them the most.

Brown has six consecutive quality starts and is beginning to show signs that he can be the top of the rotation pitcher the club always hoped he could develop into.

Arrighetti has stepped in and shown that he belongs in the big leagues, and has provided innings Houston desperately requires with so many pitchers on the injured list.

Speaking of which, with Justin Verlander on the IL, Double A prospect Jake Bloss will make the start for Houston on Friday night. Bloss has quickly progressed through the farm system, having been drafted just a year ago.

We'll see how he performs in his MLB debut, but the club seems to have a lot of quality pitching options moving forward, especially with Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers scheduled to return in late July and early August respectively.

And as we look at the Astros rotation moving forward, perhaps they will go back to a six-man rotation during certain stretches in the second half of the season.

Which could prove to be vital to the team's success. As good as Ronel Blanco has been, he's never pitched as many innings as he'll be asked to pitch this year. Same goes for Arrighetti. And let's face it, sending Verlander out to pitch on four days rest consistently at 41 years old doesn't sound like a wise decision. He's already been on the IL twice this year.

While some see Garcia and McCullers as wild cards to help the team this season, Astros GM Dana Brown doesn't see it that way. He told the Astros flagship station this week that he's counting on those guys to make big contributions when they return. And he's counting on their postseason experience should they get there.

Keep in mind, Garcia has a 3.61 career ERA and has been durable outside the Tommy John surgery. And McCullers has always been good, it's just the health that causes concern.

Garcia is also an example of how a player can skip Double A and Triple A and have success right away in the big leagues. Hopefully, Bloss can follow in his footsteps, since he's bypassing Triple A to make his first start.

So what's the short and long-term outlook for the Astros rotation? And should we expect Verlander to return in 2025?

Be sure to watch the video above as we address those questions and much more!

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