It should come as no surprise that the Major League-best Astros, after a month that's helped to push them to a 38-16 record, have both the American League Player of the Month and the AL Pitcher of the Month for May.Houston shortstop Carlos Correa was named the AL Player of
It should come as no surprise that the Major League-best Astros, after a month that's helped to push them to a 38-16 record, have both the American League Player of the Month and the AL Pitcher of the Month for May.
Houston shortstop Carlos Correa was named the AL Player of the Month on Friday, and right-hander Lance McCullers was named the AL Pitcher of the Month.
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"It feels like we're playing really well. We're playing well as a team," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. "We've got some individual guys that got some awards, which is nice and well-deserved. We had at least one other guy that probably should've been in the conversation when you think of the month of May.
"That's a byproduct. The individual awards are a byproduct of us, of what we're doing, of what they're doing individually, and playing winning baseball. I think the story of May is over, we're on to June, we're on to a new series, but it's nice to get the recognition for our guys that they earned and that they deserved, and consequently that we all get to celebrate."
Correa overcame a slow start to the season -- he was hitting just .233 with a pair of home runs at the end of April -- and was an absolute force in May. In 26 games last month, Correa put up a slash line of .386/.457/.673, good for an 1.130 OPS, while mashing seven homers and driving in 26 runs.
• AL Player of the Month Award winners
McCullers made a similar jump in May. The 23-year-old wasn't exactly slumping early on, but his ERA was 4.34 after April. But in May, however, he was nearly unhittable. McCullers went 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA in his six starts, allowing just four earned runs in 36 1/3 innings. He also struck out 37 batters.
"For me, it's a very humbling experience. I mean, I don't think you ever go into a month and say, 'Oh, my goal this month is to be Pitcher of the Month,'" McCullers said. "You just want to go in, day in and day out, you want to grind it out, put your best foot forward. Things really worked out for me this month. I feel like I threw the ball really well, but the month's over. I'm really looking forward to getting back out there, trying to put the same production that I've been for the guys out there again."
This is the second straight month an Astros pitcher has taken home AL Pitcher of the Month honors. Dallas Keuchel was named the AL Pitcher of the Month for April after his own dominant run. The most recent Astros player before Correa to win AL Player of the Month was Jose Altuve last June.
• AL Pitcher of the Month Award winners
Correa paced the AL in several categories in May, including Wins Above Replacement, with a 1.9 WAR for the month. The 22-year-old's .386 batting average led all qualified AL hitters, as did his 26 RBIs. His May OPS was second only to Michael Trout's 1.280 mark.
McCullers' 0.99 May ERA was easily tops among qualified AL starters, more than one run ahead of the next-closest pitcher -- Michael Fulmer, who had a 2.19 ERA for the month. McCullers' 4-0 record was second best in the league, behind only Chris Sale, who went 5-0 but had an ERA over 4.00. McCullers' 37 strikeouts in May also ranked fifth in the AL.
This is the first career Player of the Month Award for Correa, and the first career Pitcher of the Month Award for McCullers.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.