Pennant winners aren't crowned at the end of May. This magical Astros season could fall off the rails between now and September; as our own John Royal noted on Tuesday, teams have fallen from greater heights and surged from deeper depths — just ask the 2005 Astros.
But long-suffering Astros fans would be forgiven for taking a moment to marvel at how severely their team is kicking the tar out of everyone else in the majors right now.
Where do we even start? Consider this:
— The Astros just put up 40 runs in three games against the Twins. 40. Runs.
— They have an 11-game lead over the second-place A.L. West team, the Angels
— Ace Dallas Keuchel is 8-0 (1st in league) with an ice-cold 1.81 ERA (2nd)
— Jose Altuve is batting an insane .439 on the road (and Carlos Correa hit .386 in May)
— The team is on a seven-game winning streak, its longest of the season
— There is no easy out in their loaded lineup (The worst batter, Nori Aoki, is hitting .259)
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After drubbing Minnesota 17-6 on Wednesday afternoon, the Astros are a league-best 38-16. With a winning percentage of .704, Houston is on track to win 114 games this year. That would put them behind only the 1906 Chicago Cubs and the 2001 Seattle Mariners, both with 116 wins, as the best regular season teams in baseball history.
A record-breaking regular season is still no harbinger of postseason success, however — both that Cubbies squad and Ichiro Suzuki's Mariners failed to win the World Series. But so far, the Astros are following to the letter the bold Sports Illustrated prediction in 2014 that the then-lousy Astros would win the 2017 World Series.
Yes, the A.L. West is a terrible division this year. But the Astros have already whupped the Twins (sweep) and Yankees (three for four), the leaders of the American League's other divisions.
The Astros head to Arlington Friday evening for a three-game engagement with the Rangers, who flummoxed the Astros all last season. Let revenge be sweet.