The Pallilog

This Astros streak could last a while

Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Astros roll into the weekend on a six game winning streak. Their road trip begins with three games at the atrocious Orioles then three at the faded White Sox. Check my calculation, but if they win all six that would make for a 12 game winning streak. It's not likely but it's a darn decent possibility. Fun with math: if the Astros are 85 (a very high number) percent likely to win each game, it's a 38 percent likelihood they win all six. Bump it up to 90 percent likely to win each game and winning all six becomes a better than 50/50 shot.

Three times in their history the Astros have ripped off 12 consecutive wins. The first came in September of 1999, the final season of the Astrodome. As it played out they needed all 12 wins as the Astros won the National League Central by one game, with Mike Hampton winning his franchise record 22nd game of the season on the final day of the regular season.

12 game winning streak number two came in 2004, straddling August and September. The Astros began the stretch at 64-63, seven games out of the NL Wild Card (only one per league back then). At streak's end they were tied for the Wild Card spot, and would go on to win the last seven games of the regular season schedule to edge out the Giants by one game.

The most recent 12 gamer goes all the way back to…last season. At 37-25 the defending World Series Champions weren't struggling, but a dozen wins later they were nearly halfway to their ultimate win total: the single season franchise record of 103.

The 2019 juggernaut Astros are on pace to win 105 games. To win "only" 100 the Astros can struggle to the finish with a 25-22 record. Bet the over. Never assume, but…

No franchise in MLB history has ever strung together four consecutive 100 win seasons. It doesn't take 20/20 vision to see that as in play for the 2020 Astros. As I put it in a SportsMap.com video earlier this week, this Astros' squad is stacked like Pamela Anderson in the 90s.

Still, for all the Astros' awesomeness, they enter the weekend trailing the Yankees (winners of nine in a row) and Dodgers (winners of five straight) by one game in the race for homefield advantage in prospective American League Championship Series and World Series matchups. So the Astros need to keep winning. And winning. And winning. And they probably will.

Giant streak

One of my favorite baseball factoids is about the winning streaks of the 1916 New York Giants. They started the season 2-13, then racked up 17 straight wins. Toward the end of the season the Giants won the still standing record of 26 in a row. 26! The 1916 New York Giants finished fourth. Combining the two streaks the Giants went 43-0. The rest of the season they went 43-66.

Adding a Duke

Thursday night's Texans preseason opener at Green Bay was, well, a football game. Kind of. Four preseason games are not necessary evils. What they are, are annual rip-offs of season ticket holders. Commissioner Babble pays lip service every year to "we know it's not what the fans want and above all else we care about the fans (well, other than maybe player safety)." The owners will get rid of two easy profits preseason games per year just as soon as the players agree to an 18 game regular season schedule.

The Texans' General Manager-less braintrust made a nice little acquisition in running back Duke Johnson from Cleveland. As long as he isn't a malcontent. The Texans have never before had a quality third down pass catching complementary back. Arian Foster was an all-around beast for a few years, which probably contributed to his short shelf life of excellence. Lamar Miller is a solid starting running back, but not good enough to be an unquestioned every down back. Last season Miller caught 25 passes at a lackluster 6.5 yards per reception. Johnson caught his career low in four seasons with the Browns, 47. In 2017 he caught 74 passes and for his career Johnson is over nine yards per reception. If the Texans are good and Johnson is one reason why, trading a low third round pick for a guy under contract for this season and two more is a good deal. Add in the track record of Texans' third round picks and it looks fantastic!

You bet...

Saturday September 7: LSU at Texas is a pick 'em, Clemson is an 18 ½ point home favorite over A&M. If forced to play one of the four teams, Gig 'Em!

Buzzer Beaters

1. The 2016 Reds gave up a record 258 home runs. The 2019 Orioles are on pace to give up 332. Even with the juiced balls, that's ridiculous. 2. Keke Coutee injured? Go figure. 3. Best salad dressings: Bronze-blue cheese Silver-balsamic vinaigrette Gold-honey lime


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Houston gets the lopsided win

Valdez, Astros dominate the Angels in 10-0 rout in Anaheim

Framber Valdez was dominant against the Angels on Monday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a series win at home over the weekend, the Astros started their final regular-season road trip on Monday, squaring off against the Angels in Anaheim. They held the momentum firmly in their favor all night, dominating both sides of the game to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 0

Astros' Record: 89-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (11-5)

Losing Pitcher: Jaime Barria (2-4)

Siri leads off with a bang

With Jose Altuve being given the night off, Houston gave Jose Siri a shot at the leadoff spot, and he delivered to start the opener in Anaheim. He launched a missile to left field, 426 feet, to put the Astros in front 1-0 before the Angels could record an out. Later that same inning, they strung together three singles, the third being an RBI by Carlos Correa to double the lead.

Valdez goes seven shutout innings

That gave Framber Valdez a lead to work with as he stepped on the rubber in the bottom of the inning, and he didn't give it up as he would post a dominant start. He started with a 1-2-3 first, worked around a couple of singles in the second, then used a double play to face the minimum in the third.

He retired Los Angeles in order again in the fourth, stranded a two-out single in the fifth and a single and a walk in the sixth. He had his worst inning of the night in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single then loading the bases on back-to-back two-out walks. He'd escape the jam, though, keeping the shutout alive and finalizing his impressive line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 98 P.

Astros take the opener in lopsided fashion

Houston tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a one-out double by Correa to set up an RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez, pushing the lead to 3-0. Things escalated from there, as another single put two on base for Martin Maldonado, who blew the game open with a three-run homer to make it a six-run lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Valdez in the bottom of the inning, and with a 1-2-3 inning, made it his eighth appearance in a row without allowing a run. The Astros didn't let up in the top of the ninth, getting two hits and a walk to load the bases before a grand slam by Gonzalez made it 10-0 and gave him 5 RBI in a two-inning span. Seth Martinez, called up by the Astros earlier in the day, made his big-league debut in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the lopsided win to put Houston's magic number at 6.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Tuesday. Jose Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, going opposite Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) for the Angels.

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