Where do Astros stand through 54 games?

Houston unable to sweep defending champion Red Sox on Sunday

May 26th, 2019

HOUSTON -- The Astros hit the one-third mark of the regular season having won a weekend series over the Red Sox, giving them the edge in the regular-season series despite losing Sunday’s finale 4-1 at Minute Maid Park. delivered once again, only to take a rare loss.

Verlander surpassed 2,800 career strikeouts and held the Red Sox to three runs and six hits in seven innings, but the Astros committed two errors, had a runner picked off first base, were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and had a passed ball that led to a run.

The Astros were shut down by Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, who held them to one run and four hits in six innings. singled and scored in the first inning, but he aggravated his left hamstring as he crossed home plate and was removed from the game. He’s likely headed to the injured list.

“We didn’t play well,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “We missed an opportunity to sweep those guys and really just misfired on a day J.V. pitched well enough to get us the win. We allowed ourselves to play a little mentally tired, a little physically tired. We’re beat up a little bit. It wasn’t our day.”

Still, the Astros are 35-19 a third of the way through, putting them on a 105-57 pace. Let’s look at what went right and what went wrong in the club’s first 54 games:

What’s going right

-- The offense has been terrific for most of the season, entering Sunday leading the Majors in on-base percentage, batting average and hits, while ranking second in OPS, slugging percentage and runs. has been a perfect addition to the core of , , and , and is having one of his best seasons at the plate.

-- Verlander (8-2, 2.38 ERA) is pitching like a Cy Young Award candidate at 36 years old to anchor a solid rotation. has been a nice low-cost addition to the staff, and is enjoying one of his best stretches as a starter. In the bullpen, , and have been virtually unhittable at the back end.

“He’s the best pitcher in the big leagues right now, and it’s not easy to face him,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Verlander.

What’s going wrong

-- Injuries. The Astros were pretty healthy through the first six weeks of the season, but that has certainly changed in recent weeks. Altuve was in the midst of a 20-game slump when he sustained a left hamstring strain on May 10 and hasn’t played since, though he could return on Tuesday. Springer, an MVP Award candidate, incurred a moderate left hamstring strain on Friday and could be out for a month, leaving a huge hole at the top of the lineup.

What’s more, injuries to utility infielder Diaz (left hamstring strain) and backup catcher (left knee soreness) have forced the Astros to shuffle their roster more than they wanted. Pitcher (right elbow discomfort) has been on the IL for a week.

-- The production from the key bench players has been subpar. has a .684 OPS, has a .632 OPS while getting the majority of at-bats at designated hatter and Stassi had a .460 OPS before getting injured. Of course, prospect Yordan Alvarez has destroyed Triple-A pitching all season, meaning his promotion could be in the next couple of weeks.