Houston Astros, led by their 7-1 ace Justin Verlander, became the first team in the majors to win 30 games this season and extended their latest winning streak to ten games.
On Saturday, the Astros (31-15) defeated the Boston Red Sox 7-3 at Fenway Park for their tenth win in a row. They won 13 out of their last 14 games.
The Astros are 29-10 since starting the season 2-5. They snapped out of their early season funk with a ten-game winning streak.
AJ Hinch’s squad became the first team in MLB history to start the season with multiple 10-game winning streaks.
“We want to keep winning as many games as we can,” said Astros manager AJ Hinch. “These guys out here, they’re playing hard, they’re playing well, we’re playing good defense, we’re pitching, we’re hitting. When we play facets like that, we have a chance to win every night.”
The 2019 Astros are also chasing a franchise record 12-consecutive wins, which teams accomplished in 1999 and 2004. A win on Sunday against the Red Sox will give them a sweep of the World Series champions and put them one game closer to tying their all-time mark.
Here Come the Stros
The Houston Astros won the World Series in 2017. They suffered the typical “World Series Hangover” last season even though they still won 103 games. They were bounced 4-1 in the 2018 ALCS by the Red Sox, who went on to win another World Series.
The Red Sox became victims of the same hangover affliction earlier this season. The Red Sox apparently banned Fortnite in the locker room. As soon as the Sox ditched video games, they embarked on a mini-winning streak to get back on track. But then the Sox got a huge dose of reality when they ran into the Astros, who knocked them around for their third loss in four games.
The Astros are on a mission this season, but they are hardly flying under the radar with the best record in baseball.
“I feel like this is the team to beat,” said designated hitter Josh Reddick. “We have the target on us, even though we didn’t make it all the way last year.”
The Astros do not have much competition in the AL West with a 9-win cushion over the LA Angels and Oakland A’s. The Seattle Mariners jumped out to a scorching 13-2 start, only to plummet back to Earth with a 9-24 record since then.
The Replacement Yankees are giving the Tampa Rays a headache in the AL East, while the Red Sox are lurking in third place.
The Minnesota Twins, probably the biggest surprise in the American League, won their 30th game on Saturday night. The Twins are the best team in the Central Division and hold a 5.5-game lead over the Cleveland Indians in second place.
Outlook: All Systems Go
The Houston Astros were the best team in the American League in the first quarter of the 2019 MLB season. The Astros were also the best home team in baseball as well with only four losses in Houston. LF Michael Brantley is hitting .331 and slugging .571. CF George Springer leads the team with 17 home runs and 42 RBI.
Houston’s ace, Justin Verlander, is still the modern-day GOAT. He’s 7-1 with a 2.38 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. The Astros are 8-2 in games that Verlander starts this season.
Out of all the division leaders in the AL, the bookmakers have the most respect for the Houston Astros. According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book, the Astros are 5/1 odds to win the 2019 World Series.
The Astros are co-favorites with Clay Bellinger and the LA Dodgers, who are also 5/1 odds to win the title. Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs are 6/1 favorites to win the World Series and the first-place Cubbies surged to the top of the board.