Houston Astros: Two keys to a series victory over the New York Yankees

Houston Astros pitcher Roberto Osuna (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Houston Astros pitcher Roberto Osuna (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros have lost four games straight. Here are two keys for the team to get back on track and have success against the Yankees this weekend.

Houston Astros fans — no one expected that a last-place team like the Cincinnati Reds would give the Houston Astros so many fits over the past series at Great American Park. Alas, the spacemen seemed to have a more differing fate than that. The schedule doesn’t get easier, as they now go to New York to face the Yankees, the dreaded Bronx bombers.

The one saving grace for the Houston Astros is that Jose Altuve is back. However, they are still short Carlos Correa, George Springer and Aledmys Diaz. All three of the aforementioned players have had some significant success against New York. Unfortunately, none are scheduled to return before the end of the four-game series in the Bronx over this coming weekend.

The sweep by the Cincinnati Reds is the first the Houston Astros have had since late in 2017 when they were in Oakland to face the A’s. They are on a four-game skid that has many of us fans scratching our collective heads wondering why. How exactly do they get out of this current slump?

Frankly, I can personally attribute it to two very important things:

1. Pen Play

The relief core rediscovering their stride will be the biggest key to victory in New York this weekend. Specifically, this all starts with Roberto Osuna. Of his five appearances in the month of June so far, three of them were save opportunities, and he only succeeded in getting one of them. Ironically, he got hits from opposing teams in all other appearances.

Osuna’s two blown saves in June gives him three on the year. All of which have happened in the past nine games he’s been in since May 25 in Boston against the Red Sox. The Houston Astros‘ closer has inflated his ERA from a 0.79 at the end of April to now a 2.32 as of this writing. Very much a cause for concern.

Nevertheless, he isn’t the only one. Chris Devenski has had double-digit hits off opposing teams in both of the first two full months of the season, and four so far in June. Josh James and Hector Rondon have been improving since the start of the year yet they still have their work cut out for them. Ryan Pressly and Will Harris have been the most consistent so far, but cannot do it all themselves.

Brent Strom is going to need to have some group sessions with his relievers to help shut down the Bronx Bombers in New York.

2. Target Practice

The other element that the Houston Astros will need to tweak is the approach the offense has at

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the plate. As previously stated, three key players are still injured. While Yordan Alvarez has been lighting the place up, putting all the run scoring weight on the rookie phenom is not the most ideal thing to do.

Interestingly, the one saving grace in the series against the Reds was the mass improvement at the plate by Tyler White. Despite what I suggested last time about him moving to the bullpen, he may be finding that bat after all. Let’s just hope it continues in New York.

Again, having Jose Altuve back will certainly be a big boost to the lineup. Regardless, hitters like Yuli Gurriel and Josh Reddick will need to find their groove at the plate again, as both have been struggling. This team knows how to timely hit, it’s just all a matter of them finding that again in New York.

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Honestly, I feel confident that the Houston Astros can get back to their winning ways. Even when things don’t look so great, they always have a way of surprising all of us.