The Houston Astros’ offense is simply too powerful to stop. It’s one in which the 7-8-9 hitters are the equivalent of a heart of the order for most teams.
The Astros made it 11 straight wins, good for the longest winning streak in the majors this season, with its victory on Monday night. That’s one shy of the club record for longest win streak, set in 1999 and 2004.
A seven-run output made it seven straight road games in which the Astros scored at least six runs, which the Elias Sports Bureau notes matches the longest such streak in team history (done previously in 1985).
About that 7-8-9
The names at the top of the Astros lineup tend to be the recognizable ones, but the bottom of the lineup cleans up whatever the top can’t handle.
Brian McCann, Yuli Gurriel and Nori Aoki combined to go 4-for-10 with six RBIs and five runs scored in the bottom three spots on Monday. McCann and Gurriel both homered, giving the Astros 16 home runs in five games, their most in a five-game span since hitting 16 in 2000 (per Elias).
The Astros 7-8-9 hitters are hitting .285 and slugging .502 this season. That’s approximately 20 points better in batting average and 40 points better in slugging percentage than the average team’s 3-4-5 combo.
This is an incredibly deep lineup, beyond George Springer (who has 21 hits in a 10-game hitting streak), Carlos Correa (who entered the day leading the AL in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage since April 30) and Jose Altuve (whose .326 batting average leads the team).
The Astros have 11 players with at least 75 at-bats this season. Ten of them have an OPS+ (OPS relative to league average, with slight adjustment for primary ballpark) of at least 110. Essentially every key player is an above-average hitter.
So good up the middle
The Astros’ core of young talent up the middle is as good as it gets.
Altuve, Correa and Springer are in line to become the first second-base/shortstop/center-field trio in AL history to each record a .500 slugging percentage.
They’re on pace to become the third such trio in AL history to all post seasons of 5 WAR, joining the 1983 Tigers (Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, Chet Lemon) and 1999 Indians (Roberto Alomar, Omar Vizquel, Kenny Lofton).
The Astros are 42-16. If they can play at that pace for 162 games, they would set the major league record for wins in a season with 117.
Three AL teams have started 42-16 in the 162-game schedule era (since 1961): the 1984 Tigers, 1998 Yankees and 2001 Mariners. Each of those teams won at least 104 games. The three combined to average 111 wins. The Tigers and Yankees won the World Series. The Mariners tied the 1906 Cubs mark for wins with 116.