In the last couple weeks, we've seen a combined no-hitter in New York, two immaculate innings in the same game and a remarkable 12-2 run all by the Astros while facing two of the best teams in baseball and their primary in-division rival. There are times when it is easy to overstate how impressive a stretch of baseball has been, hyperbole being what it is in our fast-paced, social media world. This is NOT one of those times.
What the Astros have done over the course of the last few weeks is not just some of the best baseball we've ever seen in Houston, it's been record setting, particularly on the pitching side, which has been nothing short of historic. Here are eight unreal numbers to put this into context.
Consecutive strikeouts in a single game by Framber Valdez
An Astros record and somewhat of a surprise considering Valdez is less of a strikeout pitcher than one of the best ground-ball-out pitchers in baseball. Still, it is yet another example of the roll this pitching staff is on right now.
Strikeouts in nine-inning game by Astros pitching
Only the eighth time this has happened since 1901 and a team record, this was simply a masterful performance by the staff including seven strikeouts by relievers. Did we mention the game ended in the ninth with a Jeremy Peña walkoff home run?
Number of strikeouts over two games by Christian Javier while only allowing one hit
Of all the numbers, this one might be the most remarkable not just because it included seven innings of no-hit baseball in New York. A few weeks ago, we were all pretty certain that the return of Jake Odorizzi and, eventually, Lance McCullers, would relegate Javier back to the bullpen. Right now, he might be their best pitcher.
Record number of strikeouts in three-game series without extra innings
The Angels definitely have issues whiffing at the plate, but the way Astros pitching manhandled them borders on assault. This set a major league record.
Consecutive scoreless innings pitched by Ryan Stanek
Ryne Stanek should be an All Star.
Photo by Jack Gorman
Heaping praise on the starters is one thing, but don't overlook the exploits of Stanek whose run is reminiscent of Chris Devenski when he made the All-Star game in 2017 as a setup man.
Strikeouts in 11 at bats for Mike Trout against the Astros
Trout, a perennial finalist for MVP for good reason, was stymied by the Astros again and again over three games in Houston. He finished with zero hits in a 11 at bats.
Consecutive games in which the Astros did not take an at bat while trailing
This remains one of the more mind blowing stats, particularly because that stretch included nine games against the Yankees and Mets. In two of those games, the Yankees hit walkoffs to win. Those were the only two losses.
Yordan Alvarez (No. 44) hit a 444-foot home run for a walkoff win against the Royals...on July 4th.