Houston Astros: Determining what caused their surprising week performance

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 13: Gerrit Cole
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 13: Gerrit Cole /

The Houston Astros third week of baseball has concluded! Take a look below to get the skinny on how the team performed through this past week.

The Houston Astros started the second week of the season by finishing off the visiting San Diego Padres, 4-1 April 8. The bats were on fire that day as Max Stassi and Josh Reddick both hit long bombs to make Charlie Morton’s day that much easier. Morton went six innings, giving up one run and striking out seven.

Next stop was frigid Minneapolis, where the  game time temperature for Monday night was 35 degrees! Not ideal baseball weather at all! That just makes me shiver thinking about it!

Despite the frigid temperatures, Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander kept the Twins bats at bay, striking out nine over seven innings. He only allowed four hits. Offensively, the Astros were led by J.D. Davis and Marwin Gonzalez. Davis hit an RBI single to left field in the third inning, scoring Carlos Correa. Marwin Gonzlez hit a double in the 8th to score Carlos Correa to make it 2-0 in favor of the Astros.

That would be all the offense the Astros would need as Ken Giles shut the door on the Twins, forcing three straight ground-outs.

Tuesday night’s game was not as kind to the Astros bats, losing 4-1. Minnesota starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi kept the Astros bats from doing anything offensively over six innings. The lone run for the Astros was hit by Jake Marisnick who hit an RBI single, scoring Josh Reddick.

Wednesday was a wild one for both teams. The Twins had a commanding 8-1 lead going into the 5th inning. That’s when the comeback for the Astros began. The Astros scored 5 runs in the inning, beginning with an RBI single by the defending American League MVP Jose Altuve which scored Alex Bregman.

The Astros proceeded to bat around in the fifth and sixth inning, cutting the gap to 6-8. In the next inning, George Springer decided to make things extra interesting by hitting a ground out that scored both Evan Gattis and Davis. Springer reached second base on a throwing error, which tied the game up at 8. That was all the Astros could do offensively and the Astros pitching could not hold down the fort in the ninth, allowing Max Kepler to hit a walk off home run to allow the Twins to win 9-8.

I had the pleasure of attending the Friday night game against Texas with some dear friends of

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mine and it was a great one to witness in person.

Gerrit Cole was wheeled and dealt the Rangers that night. Cole struck out a record 14 batters in seven innings. I also witnessed a “Springer Dinger” (his second one that night) and Derek Fisher scoring on an fielding error by the Rangers center fielder Drew Robinson.  That would be all the Astros would need to pull out a 3-2 victory.

Saturday’s game was a frustrating one for the home town team as they let a five-run lead go and let the Rangers come all the way back to win in extras, 6-5. One bright spot for the Astros was that Yuli Gurriel hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the 4th to put the Astros up 5-0. It was Yuli’s first home run of the season. Gurriel was suspended for the beginning of the 2018 season for making a derogatory gesture during the World Series. Yuli then had surgery in February to remove the hamate bone in his left hand. He did play Friday night, going 1-4, with a single.

In last night’s prime time matchup, Verlander took the mound against Bartolo Colon, also known as “Big Sexy.”  Colon certainly played his part, no-hitting the Astros through nearly eight innings.  Josh Reddick was the guy to do the honors by breaking up the no-hitter to right, sending Carlos Correa to third base.  Yuli Gurriel then sent a sac fly up in the air, just enough to get Correa home to tie the game up at one run apiece.

Next: Fans should be civil about Evan Gattis

Robinson Chirinos put the nail the coffin by doubling out to center field, bringing Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman home at the top of the 10th inning, eventually winning the game 3-1.

Verlander tossed 11 strikeouts through eight innings of just superb, one-hit ball.

Let’s go Astros!