Shoutout to Astros pitchers AND Yordan Alvarez on a great start to 2022

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander delivers against the New York Mets during the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Mary Altaffer, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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Hello from KPRC 2, this is Sports Director Randy McIlvoy checking in with this week’s Astros newsletter!

Can you believe the month of June wraps up tonight with the Yankees in town for one game? In case you are confused, this is one of the makeup games from the start to the season when it was delayed. The Astros and Yankees will play a doubleheader at Minute Maid Park right after the All-Star break to complete that series. They will make up three with the Phillies at home as well to end the season.

WHERE THINGS STAND ENTERING TONIGHT VS. YANKEES

The Astros are off to a fantastic start to the year and now stand 47-27 and lead the AL West by 11 games over the Texas Rangers. The Astros are home after a stretch of 8 of 9 games against the Mets and Yankees. During this past week, the Astros swept the Mets at Minute Maid Park, then split a four game series at Yankee Stadium before wrapping up a two game sweep over the Mets the past two days.

This entire stretch in the past week has been some of the best starting pitching I’ve ever seen. Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez were flawless in the sweep over the Mets. Shoutout to JV, Framber, along with Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia and Cristian Javier. When Jake Odorizzi returns soon, where will he fit in? I expect he’ll start in the bullpen. You can’t mess with this rotation.

PENA AND ALVAREZ COLLISION

One concern coming off the road trip is the health of Jeremy Pena and Yordan Alvarez. Both were chasing a shallow fly ball in the 8th inning when they collided and fell to the ground. Pena reportedly had a mouth laceration, while Alvarez was helped up and left on a golf cart.

Houston Astros' Jake Meyers (6) watches as Jeremy Pena, left, and Yordan Alvarez fall to the ground after colliding catching a fly ball by New York Mets' Dominic Smith during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Good news though, reports out of the clubhouse after the game indicated both appeared to be okay. That said, manager Dusty Baker had little to say after the game saying he wouldn’t know more until they are evaluated. Be on the lookout today to see if they are in the lineup against the Yankees.

SPEAKING OF ALVAREZ

I can’t write this newsletter without a quick shoutout to Air Yordan! What a season he is having and he only turned 25 earlier this week. Go ahead and mark it down that he’ll be honored as the AL Player of the Month after the June that he has had with potentially one more left today if he’s in the lineup. In June, Alvarez is hitting .418 with 9 homers and 28 RBI. Are you kidding me?

On the year, Alvarez is slashing .316 / .412 / .658! He’s also belted 23 homers and already has 56 RBI. What a player and remember the Astros got him when they traded reliever Josh Fields to the Dodgers and in return LA sent the then little known young Cuban to Houston. The rest is history.

BREGMAN STARTING TO HEAT UP

Offensively it has been a struggle for Alex Bregman this season and he’s the first to admit he hasn’t delivered as he and everyone expected. Good news though and I said this a few weeks ago, the results are starting to come now. Bregman had dipped to below .220 hitting, but he’s home after a great road trip that saw his average shoot up over 20 points. He enters tonight hitting .241 with 9 homers and 36 RBI. Breggy was 8-22 on this completed road trip. Just wait until he’s really locked in, and the damage will come.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Justin Verlander is now 10-3 with an ERA of 2.03. At the age of 39, he’s having one of the best years of his career. He’s won 5 of his last 6 starts and has gone 7 innings or more in all of the wins.
  • The Astros went 6-2 in the stretch against the Mets, @Yankees and @Mets. In the 4 games Home/Away against the Mets, the Astros outscored them 24-6. Complete domination!
  • Jason Castro had the 2 run home run to beat the Mets Wednesday. Prior to that, he had only 1 RBI all season. He hasn’t hit well at all, but that was a huge at bat.
  • Similar to Alex Bregman, look out for Yuli Gurriel who was 8-22 on this road trip including 6-14 in his last three games. If he can get going with Bregman, look out!

Hope to see you at Minute Maid Park on this homestand! It’s going to be electric tonight with the Yankees coming to town!