For the 2021 Houston Astros, the month of April and come and gone, which means it is time to review how the first month of the season has gone and what we might look forward to in May.
2021 Houston Astros: April Highs And Lows
The Astros started the 2021 season on the road against the reigning division champion Oakland Athletics. The Astros had an “All gas, no brakes” mentality from the first pitch as they would outscore the Athletics 35-9 and a sweep to start the season. Normally slow to start the season, the Astros got major production from the top of the lineup, which we have not seen this early in previous years. To cap off the season’s first road trip, the Astros split a two-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Astros returned home to open the first homestand of the 2021 season against the Oakland Athletics. After meeting the A’s to start the season, the Astros were hoping to remain hot and continue their dominance against the A’s as they took game one of the series 6-2. Yordan Alvarez, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve got the Astros going to kick off the season’s first homestand. After game one, the Astros would struggle in games two and three, getting outscored 13-5.
In the second series of the homestand, the Detroit Tigers would come to town. This series would also mark the return of former Astros manager AJ Hinch, who was let go by the Astros and suspended for the entire 2020 season by MLB for the sign-stealing scandal. Hinch, who is beloved by Astros fans, received a warm ovation and a video tribute before game one of the series.
Tributes and ovations aside, the Astros were hoping to turn the page and get back into the win column. The Astros would struggle throughout this entire series as it seemed that everything the Astros did, the Tigers countered with something better. Not to mention the Astros were hit with health and safety protocols that would knock out five of their core players for the next ten days. Pitching would struggle as well, as Astros pitchers gave up twenty runs in the three-game series. The Astros would be swept by the Tigers and their former manager to end the six-game homestand.
The Astros would go back out on a five-game road trip against the Seattle Mariners and Colorado Rockies with hopes to kick the losing streak. The Astros would continue to struggle during this series, as the Mariners would take two out of three games from the Astros. Game two was the bright spot in the series as Zack Greinke would go eight scoreless innings as the Astros would finally get back into the win column with a final score 1-0. The Astros and their depleted lineup would limp into Colorado to face the Rockies. The offense was just about as cold as the weather, as the Astros were outscored 12-5 in the quick two-game series.
After going 1-4 on the road trip, the Astros returned home to an eight-game homestand starting with the Los Angeles Angels. In-game one, the Astros got back some firepower back as Alex Bregman, and Yordan Alvarez returned to the lineup. Cristian Javier was outstanding as he racked up a career-high nine strikeouts. Game two of the series was packed with much excitement as the Astros were able to walk it off in the tenth inning. Game three of the series was a rout of 16-2 as it seemed that everyone was getting in on the action.
Astros did receive a scare as game three starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi was removed after five pitches as he seemed to have an apparent arm injury. Rookie Kent Emanuel came into the game pitched a gem of a game as he went 8.2 innings in relief to secure his first win of this career. The Astros would go to sweep the Angels and take the series.
The Mariners would come to Houston to close out the eight-game homestand. Jose Altuve would return the lineup for the first time since being out due to health and safety protocols. Astros fans would find out before the series began that Altuve had a bout of COVID-19 which would keep him and four others out the lineup dating back to the series against the Tigers. The Astros would continue to find success at the plate as the Astros would take the series 3-1 and move to 7-1 during the homestand.
2021 Houston Astros: May Outlook
The Astros would close out the month of April with a record of 14-12, which includes the one game against the Tampa Bay Rays. If the Astros had to choose a player of the month, it would be Yuli Gurriel. Yuli had a fantastic month at the plate, batting .344/.443/.556. The Astros start the month of May on the road in Tampa Bay for three games, and then it is off the New York to face the Yankees for three games.
For the first time, George Springer returns to Minute Maid Park since signing with the Toronto Blue Jays this past offseason as the Astros and Blue Jays square off starting May 7th. On tap for the rest of May, the Astros will face the Angels, Rangers at home before heading off on a six-road trip in the middle of May to face the Athletics and Rangers again. To end the month of May, the Astros will face the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and the Boston Red Sox, all at home.
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