For Astros Baseball, the month of May was certainly a wild month. With May in the books, it is time to recap the second month of the season and what to look forward to in June.
Astros Baseball: Highs and Lows
The Astros ended the month of April and began the month of May on a six-game road trip. Up first for the Astros were the defending American League Champions, Tampa Bay Rays. The Astros have often struggled at Tropicana Field, with a 9-20 record, including the postseason. Still, with the excellent pitching performances from Lance McCullers Jr. and Jose Urquidy, the Astros were able to take the series from the Rays, two games to one. Up next on the road trip was the New York Yankees.
The Astros came into Yankee Stadium for the first time since the 2019 ALCS and received a salty welcome from Yankees fans. The Astros did not have an answer in the first two games of the series as Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton single-handedly beat the Astros with the long ball. In the third game of the series, the Astros were able to get to Yankees ace Gerrit Cole as Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez hit not one, but two home runs off of Cole. The Astros would take game three from the Yankees to wrap up the six-game road trip.
The Astros would return home after facing the Rays and Yankees to a ten-game homestand. Up first were the Toronto Blue Jays and the return of George Springer. Before game one against the Blue Jays, Springer would receive a warm tribute from Astros fans. Unfortunately, Springer would not play in the series as he was on the 10-day IL with a hamstring injury.
The Astros offense would get things going in the first game as Yuli Gurriel would lead the charge with four RBIs as the Astros would take game one. The offense was the theme in-game in two, but this time it was the Blue Jays, as they would pile on the runs to split the series at a game apiece. The Astros would come into the rubber match looking for fireworks facing Blue Jays rookie Nate Pearson. The Astros would jump on the rookie Pearson as Kyle Tucker, and Jose Altuve would lead the charge. The Astros would go on to win game three and take the series from the Blue Jays.
The Astros would square off against the Los Angeles Angels for the third time this season on this homestand. The Astros and Angels would go back and forth in game one of the series, but after a four-run sixth inning, the Angels would be able to shut down the Astros offense and take game one of the series. In-game two, Shohei Ohtani and McCullers Jr. would square off in what was a pitcher’s duel for most of the game. The Astros would manage to score four runs in the late innings to take game two. In-game three, Altuve got the scoring going, and the Astros never looked back. Hitting a season-high five home runs, the Astros took game three and the series from the Angels.
To wrap the final series of the homestand, the Astros welcomed in in-state rival, the Texas Rangers, to a four-game series. The Rangers had absolutely no answer for the Astros as pitching and offense were the keys for the Astros in this series. Zack Greinke and Luis Garica were amazing as they would keep the Rangers bats dormant as the Astros were able to sweep the Rangers. The Astros would finish out the homestand with an 8-2 record.
The Astros have reached the midway point in May with a record of 11-4 as they head back on the road for six games against the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers. For the third time this season, the Astros were facing the Athletics. Coming off a series sweep against the Rangers, the Astros were looking for more success against the Athletics. After dropping game one of the series, the Astros offense got together, and they manage to score sixteen runs in games two and three of the series. The Astros would take the series and head off to Arlington to face the Rangers.
Playing the Rangers for the second time in a week, the Astros were hoping for lighting to strike twice, but that did not seem to be the case. Injuries started to mount for the Astros as they struggled to get their offense going. The bullpen would struggle to keep the Astros in games as the Rangers would sweep the Astros in four games. With the injuries mounting and the bullpen unable to put it together, the Astros would need to figure out a way to win with the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and Boston Red Sox all coming into town for the final homestand of May.
To kick off the most intense week in baseball, the Astros were tasked with facing the defending World Series Champion, Los Angeles Dodgers. These two teams and their fan bases do not like each other; thankfully, this was a quick two-game series. The Astros and Dodgers would split the series as Clayton Kershaw would take game one for the Dodgers and the Astros Luis Garcia would take game two. Up next, the NL West-leading San Diego Padres.
Coming into this series with the Padres, the Astros were just hoping to get by. With Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez out of the lineup, the Astros relied heavily on their starting pitching. The Astros got back Framber Valdez and Jake Odorizzi for the first two games, and both were exceptional in their outings. The bullpen would get the call with the Astros leading in both games, but Padres superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. would have other plans as he would put the Padres back on top with a pair of crushing home runs in the first two games of the series, resulting in wins for the Padres.
Entering game three against the Padres, the Astros turned to Greinke, and Greinke was phenomenal. Not to mention, the Astros’ offense came alive against Blake Snell. The Astros needed a stellar performance from Greinke to help give the bullpen a rest, and Greinke delivered as the Astros were able to win the game, avoiding the sweep.
The Astros will face the Boston Red Sox starting on Memorial Day for four games to close the homestand. The Astros will start June on the road against the Blue Jays (Buffalo) for three games. The Astros will then head to Boston for three games and close out the road trip against the Minnesota Twins for three games.
The Astros return home to face the Rangers for quick two-game series, then the Chicago White Sox for four games, and then it will be back on the road to face the Baltimore Orioles for three games and the Detroit Tigers for four games. The Astros will return home to face the Orioles for three games to close out the month of June.
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