By Bill McCaughey
For The Fort Bend Star
Last week the Houston Astros became the first team in the American League to reach the 20-win level as they finished the week 21-11 for the season.
The Astros will host the Braves in a two-game series before leaving for New York and a four-game series with the Yankees.
Last Wednesday, Dallas Keuchel was named American League Pitcher of the Month for April. Keuchel was 5-0 and had a 1.21 earned run average in six starts during April. Keuchel’s five wins tied the Astros’ record for wins in April, which was set by Roger Clemens in 2004. Keuchel has now won four Pitcher of the Month awards, the most in Astros’ history and makes him one of four active American League pitchers to have won four. The other three are Bartolo Colon, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander.
The Astros will face Colon, who pitches for the Braves now, on Tuesday. Colon is 1-3 with a 6.27 earned run average.
The Astros are beating the teams they must beat to win the AL West. They are 17-6 against their division rivals. They are 5-2 against Seattle, 4-1 against Oakland, 5-2 against Los Angeles and 3-1 against Texas.
A reason the Astros are on top is that they are leading the league in hits and they rank second in batting average. Meanwhile the pitching staff is ranked third in opponents’ batting average, and third in earned average.
Jose Altuve leads the league with nine stolen bases, and is in 10th place with a .304 batting average. Marwin Gonzalez is tied for fourth with nine home runs, and is in ninth place with 21 runs-batted-in. Dallas Keuchel leads the American League with five wins and a 1.88 earned run average.