The Houston Astros have been playing some awfully impressive baseball as of late. On June 6, they defeated the Seattle Mariners to improve to 38-25 on the season. That loss dropped the Mariners to 38-23, and put the two clubs in a veritable tie for first place in the American League West.
The Astros were then set to embark on a season-long 10-game road trip through Texas, Oakland and Kansas City. The good vibes from salvaging a split of that two-game series against the Mariners carried over.
The Astros went out and swept four games from the Rangers to begin the road trip, the last two of which were one-run victories. They then went to Oakland and smashed the A’s for three games before going to Kansas City and sweeping the Royals.
In Sunday’s variation, they got six strong innings from Lance McCullers who racked up nine strikeouts over six innings of two-run baseball. Carlos Correa led the charge on offense, going 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI.
Correa spoke to reporters after the game about the Astros’ winning ways "The winning streak is great, man. We're on a long road trip and away from our families for 10 days; winning every single game makes it a lot better. Hopefully we can go home and keep grinding and keep playing the way we've been playing."
Astros’ skipper A.J. Hinch echoed a similar sentiment, "This was incredible, just by the way we played and the way we completed games… Obviously, winning every game is incredible. We did it in a lot of different ways, so we want to keep the same intent and same mentality we've been playing with. It's been pretty remarkable. It's hard to put into words. It's been somebody different every night. We've had good pitching, we've played good defense, we've rallied late, we've blown guys out early."
To put into context just how dominant the Astros have been during this 11-game winning streak, they have outscored their opponents 81-40 during this stretch. They’ve done that while hitting .327 as a team while slugging 21 home runs.
This type of dominance on the road doesn’t happen often in Major League Baseball. In fact, since 1953 there have only been six other times that any club has had an undefeated road trip of 10 games or more.
The Astros now own an outstanding 29-11 record on the road this season, the best in all of baseball.
Even with the Astros failing to lose though, they haven’t run away with the division race in the American League West. The Mariners have gone 7-3 over their last 10 games and sit just 1 ½ games behind the Astros.
I’m A Belieber
Indians’ top pitching prospect Shane Bieber struggled in his big league debut against the Twins on June 1, allowing four runs on eight hits over 5 ⅔ innings in a no-decision against the Twins. With multiple injuries in their starting rotation though, the 23-year-old right-hander is expected to get an extended look.
For the second start of his big league career, Bieber would get his second crack at the Twins’ lineup that knocked him around the first time. He was also looking to salvage one game of the Tribe’s weekend series against the Twins after dropping the first two games by a combined score of 15-6.
Bieber wasn’t any better at keeping the Twins’ hitters off base in this one, allowing 10 hits and a walk over his 5 ⅔ innings, but helped by his seven strikeouts he allowed just one run en route to the first victory of his major league career.
The most important thing that Bieber exhibited in the minor leagues was impeccable command. He posted a minuscule 1.29 ERA and 0.77 WHIP in 76 ⅔ innings between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, primarily due to that exceptional 72/6 K/BB ratio.
As long as he can carry over that terrific walk rate to the big leagues, he should be an asset to the Indians for the rest of the season. As far as fantasy leagues though, he’ll need to find a way to surrender fewer hits as his 1.76 WHIP through two starts is not going to cut it, regardless of how many batters he strikes out.
His next test should come next weekend at home against the Tigers, which on paper would appear to be a premium matchup. He’s worth a look as a streaming option in all formats for that start.
The King of Father’s Day
Julio Teheran returned from the disabled list in impressive fashion on Sunday, racking up a season-high 11 strikeouts over six no-hit innings against the Padres.
He was unable to make a bid at a no-hitter on his own though due to a hamstring cramp and the fact that he had thrown 95 pitches to get through six innings.
Teheran was disappointed, but understood manager Brian Snitker’s decision to remove him from the game. "I wanted to stay in, but when I got to the dugout, I was still cramping and that's not a good sign," Teheran told reporters afterwards. "I wanted to go, especially when you're feeling good and have all your stuff."
The team’s bid for a combined no-hitter faltered the following inning when Shane Carle allowed a one-out single to Cory Spangenberg.
What’s really impressive, is just how dominant Teheran has been on Father’s Day throughout his career. Sunday marked the fourth time in his career that he has started on Father’s Day, and he has still yet to allow an earned run over 28 innings of work. He’s a perfect 4-0 and has allowed just nine total hits and six walks while striking out 31 during those four starts.
It would be shocking if the Braves didn’t find a way to line him up for a Father’s Day start next season as well. Fantasy owners should file this one away for next year.
With the victory, the Braves wrapped up a 5-1 homestand and now sit 3 ½ games ahead of the Nationals for the top spot in the National League East.
American League Quick Hits: Elvis Andrus is set to return from the disabled list on Monday… The Indians placed Carlos Carrasco on the 10-day disabled list with a right elbow contusion… Andrew Cashner (back) is expected to return to the Orioles’ rotation on Wednesday against the Nationals… Jorge Soler officially landed on the disabled list with a fractured toe… Tigers’ manager Ron Gardenhire said he plans to utilize a six-man rotation until the All-Star break once Francisco Liriano returns… Jacoby Ellsbury (back, oblique, foot, hip) could soon be cleared to ramp up baseball activities… Whit Merrifield was lifted from Sunday’s game after fouling a ball off of his left knee. X-rays came back negative and he’s considered day-to-day… The Orioles optioned starting catcher Chance Sisco to Triple-A Norfolk… Brett Gardner sat out Sunday’s contest with a sore knee. He’s day-to-day… Mark Trumbo went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI as the Orioles crushed the Marlins… Randal Grichuk smacked two home runs and plated four as the Blue Jays beat the Nationals… Yangervis Solarte blasted his 15th homer in that victory... CC Sabathia fanned 10 over 7 ⅔ innings of three-run ball in a loss to the Rays… Hector Rondon worked a scoreless ninth inning against the Royals to secure his fourth save. He’s gaining traction in the ninth inning for the Astros… Nicholas Castellanos homered again as the Tigers completed a three-game sweep of the White Sox… Jurickson Profar went deep and drove in four runs in a 13-12 victory over the Rockies… Delino DeShields scored four times and stole two bases in that victory.
National League Quick Hits: The Giants signed the #2 overall pick, Joey Bart, to a $7.025 million signing bonus, the largest for any position player in MLB draft history… Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway said that Noah Syndergaard (finger) is feeling better every day, though he has yet to resume his throwing program… Yoenis Cespedes (hip/quad) was held out of all rehab activities over the weekend due to ongoing soreness… Freddy Peralta will start for the Brewers on Tuesday against the Pirates… Buster Posey sat out Sunday’s game due to “general soreness”... Kurt Suzuki was forced to leave Sunday’s game after he was hit in the head by the backswing from Raffy Lopez. He’s considered day-to-day… Brandon Crawford will miss the Giants’ next three games while away on paternity leave… Javier Baez had to leave Sunday’s game after being hit by a pitch on his elbow. He’s considered day-to-day… Justin Bour socked a pair of dingers and drove in four in a losing effort against the Orioles… Michael Taylor swiped four bases in a loss to the Blue Jays. His 21 stolen bases lead all of Major League Baseball… Matt Strahm struck out five over 2 ⅔ shutout innings as the opener against the Braves on Sunday… Billy Hamilton had three hits, three runs scored and two stolen bases in a win over the Pirates… Maikel Franco homered and drove in four in a 10-9 victory over the Brewers… Eric Thames blasted a pair of long balls and drove in four in a losing effort there… Wade Davis melted down in a loss to the Rangers, walking four and allowing four runs in just ⅓ of an inning… Brandon Belt swatted his first home run without and appendix as the Giants beat the Dodgers… Brandon Nimmo slugged a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning as the Mets rallied to beat the Diamondbacks… Jack Flaherty struck out seven over five scoreless innings in a win over the Cubs.