The reigning MLB Champion Houston Astros are in full swing, now one third of the way through the 2018-2019 season. While it was the teams hitting that is credited to their World Series victory last year, the starting rotation is what is setting them apart this season. As of today, the starters lead the league in ERA, strikeout rate, average against, innings pitched and slugging percentage. The real story here is the ERA as the teams starters have put up an amazingly low 2.24 ERA through the first 55 games of the season. This puts them on pace to have by far the lowest ERA in the live ball era. Next on the list is the 1968 St. Louis Cardinals with a 2.49 ERA.
The Astros are rolling with the top three starters in the league. The staff is led by the former MVP and Cy Young Award winner, Justin Verlander, who is putting up record numbers himself. He currently leads the league With a 1.08 ERA and since being brought to the team last season, has yet to give up more than three runs in a single outing.
The addition of Garrit Cole and the emergence of Charlie Morton have both been great surprises for Astros fans. Morton is second in the MLB behind Verlander posting a 2.04 ERA and currently leads the league in wins and 7-0. Cole was brought over from the Pirates and has had an excellent year posting a 2.05 ERA, good for third in the MLB. He also leads the league in strikeouts with 109.
Long time Astros, Lance McCullers and Dallas Keuchel are still having outstanding years although they are being overshadowed by the play of the first three starters. McCullers is tied for fifth in the league with six wins and Keuchel has posted a 3.39 ERA which is slightly off from years past, but still very solid.
They can hit too! While the lineup got off to a somewhat slow start, they have began to tear it up as of late. Leadoff man George Springer has tallied 11 home runs and shortstop Carlos Correa is in the top 10 in MLB with 36 RBIs. Reigning league MVP Jose Altuve, who just set the franchise record with 10 hits in a row is having another unbelievable season hitting .329, good for ninth in the MLB. Dealing with recent injuries to Josh Reddick, who has had an amazing year in the outfield, Derek Fisher and veteran catcher Brian McCann, some unlikely names have stepped up recently. Tony Kemp, who was recently called up from Triple-A Fresno after the struggling Jake Marisnik was sent down is batting .333 through his first 30 at bats of the season. Even most recent call up, J.D. Davis has gotten into the action blasting a three-run shot for his first home run of the season in the Bronx on Sunday.
Other than their recent collapse against the Indians, the Astros bullpen has been stellar this season as well. Lead by Chris Devenski who has posted a 1.31 ERA in 20.2 inning pitched the bullpen is among the top three in the league in nearly every category. Former starter Brad Peacock is having a great year out of the pen with a 2.57 ERA. Devenski and Peacock have been extremely important this season due to the struggles of closer Ken Giles who’s ERA is now up to 4.76.
Overall, the Astros are looking like a team that has a great chance to make it to another World Series and possibly even go back-to-back. Tune into Root Sports all season long to catch every minute of the action as the Astros look to continue their historic run.