Houston Astros: Week 4 Round Up – The Road to the Rangers

Apr 30, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; The Houston Astros celebrate the win against the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park. Houston Astros won 7 to 2. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 30, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; The Houston Astros celebrate the win against the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park. Houston Astros won 7 to 2. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

Both a road defeat and a home victory highlight a very roller coaster Week 4 for the Houston Astros. And now, the Texas Rangers are coming to town!

The Houston Astros wrap up the month of April with a 16-9 record. That’s a far cry from the 7-17 record that they finished with at this point last season. They’re currently holding a nice 3 game lead in the division over the Los Angeles Angels.

But now, the real test lies ahead for the spacemen. Their in-state rivals, the Texas Rangers, are coing to down for a 4 game series. It will be the first time of 19 total games that the Houston Astros will face them this season.

After this past week of play, they are certainly ready to welcome the Lone Star Series and battle for the boot to Minute Maid Park!

The Houston Astros hit the skids a bit up in Cleveland while facing the Tribe for the first time in 2017. If the numbers are any indication, these two teams could end up facing each other for the American League Championship in October. Fingers crossed on that one!

They won the first game on Tuesday, but would falter in the final 2 games on Wednesday and Thursday. Thankfully, the 2 losses were only decided by a single run.

This would also be the case on Saturday during this past weekend’s home series against the Oakland Athletics. However, the spacemen took 2 out of 3 from their divisional rivals to get yet another series win!

Here are some of the biggest highlights from the past week:

Keuchel Keeps on Dealing!

Dallas Keuchel made two more starts this past week. Both on Tuesday against the Tribe, and just yesterday against Oakland.

No surprises, he put up another two quality starts. According to a report on MLB.com, Keuchel now leads the league in wins for a starting pitcher at 5. In addition, the beard has also maintained a stellar ERA of 1.21 and WHIP of 0.81 to date.

Morton Makes History!

While making another start on Friday, Charlie Morton pitched a career high 12 strikeouts in that game. This would propel the Astros to a 9-4 victory that night.

Morton’s ERA is still up a little high at 4.50 right now. However, his WHIP has lowered down to 1.36. Starting to find consistency, Morton is quickly becoming a third starter in the rotation to rely heavily on down the stretch!

G-Men with the G-Force Bats!

With the stacked lineup the Astros have, any hitter can pick up the team at any time. But the two that have been the most consistent have been Yuli Gurriel and Evan Gattis. Both of these guys are putting up numbers that even rival and exceed that of Jose Altuve.

First, there’s Gurriel. Not only does he currently lead the team in overall batting average, but he also leads the league in average against right-handed pitching. That righty average stands at a whopping .446 at present.

Along with Gurriel has been El Oso Blanco himself, Evan Gattis. Readers will get a full list of his recent accomplishments in my fan blog on him, The White Bear Chronicles, a little later on. The biggest of these are that he is leading the team in OPS and Slugging Percentage.

Gattis is also 2nd in On-Base Percentage to Jose Altuve, and tied with George Springer for team lead in RBI with a total of 14 over his 18 games and 65 plate appearances. He also caught Charlie Morton’s record breaking 12 strikeout game, AND went 3-for-4 that night.

Next: Three Ways Evan Gattis Has Been 'Earning It'

I don’t want to tell certain fans I told you so, but my piece last week on how the Big White Bear is earning it is still coming to full fruition!

All in all, the Houston Astros are poised to take these winning streaks even further. If they can get the Texas Rangers to get out of their heads, the spacemen will continue to soar ever higher!