It can be really hard to get it going out of the gates for teams at the beginning of the season. Sometimes it takes time to get into a rhythm as a team. However, the Houston Astros were heavily motivated coming into 2021. After Houston’s struggles in the regular season of 2020, particularly against the Oakland Athletics, where they lost seven of ten matchups, they wanted to start strong against their division rivals. Starting strong was the goal, and that is what they did. The Astros laid a four-game sweep on Oakland, outscoring them 35-9. The Astros wanted to send a message in this opening series, and they did just that.
Astros Pitching Looks Good So Far
Obviously, you can’t predict how the season will go based on four games, but Houston’s pitching looked really good. The biggest question mark on the team is the pitching. This start for the staff shows the potential it has for the rest of the season. Of the four games, only one resulted in the A’s scoring more than two runs (five on Tuesday). Oakland has a pretty good lineup, for the staff to give up nine runs in total, it was the best way it could have gone. Houston should also be getting reinforcements in Jake Odorizzi, Pedro Baez, and Andre Scrubb. All three are still building up their arm strength as they all missed time in spring training for various reasons.
It is unrealistic to expect this pitching staff to hold opponents to 2.25 runs per game all season, but it is a great sign for the future.
Astros Offense Looks As Good As Ever
A big part of the Astros struggles against the A’s in 2020 was the lack of offensive production. Houston suffered no such issues. Jose Altuve filled the lead-off spot valiantly, looking like vintage Altuve. The 31-year old hit .375 with a .500 OBP and scored eight runs. Yordan Alvarez looks healthy hitting two doubles, a home run, and driving in six runs. Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel struggled in the shortened season, but look really good early. The two combined to hit .481 with three home runs and eight RBI.
On top of the success from the proven stars, prospect Chas McCormick had success in his first taste of the Major Leagues. The 26-year-old blasted a double and a home run while driving in four runs in just eight plate appearances.
Once again, to say Houston will average around eight runs a game all year would be silly, however, this lineup is undeniably formidable.
Astros Send Message
Generally, the first series of the season doesn’t matter much. Four game sweeps don’t happen often, but even then, it generally wouldn’t be that big of a deal. However, this one was different. This one was to let the A’s know they are back to the team they were before the revelation of the sign-stealing scandal. They were the team that eliminated them in the postseason. Fueled by the boos of the fans, Houston’s swagger returned in spades.
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