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How sweep it is!: The Astros win in dominating fashion to sweep the A’s



Sweeping a series feels good, doesn’t it? Even if it is the Athletics! The Astros won Thursday night’s game 8-1 on the back of a solid pitching performance from Cristian Javier and great hitting throughout the lineup.

Javier started the game strong in the first, striking out two and allowing zero baserunners. This would be a portent of things to come.

Javier’s fastball is not what it was in 2022. The fastball is almost 2 mph slower, and its downward vertical movement has increased by a half inch. The pitch doesn’t have the speed or deception it did in years past. To make up for this, Javier has thrown his fastball significantly less this year; dropping its usage by almost 20%. Javier’s change-up has picked up the bulk of the difference, but it has not been particularly effective. According to Baseball Savant, Javier’s change-up has been worth zero runs in 2024. Tonight, Javier’s change-up produced six swings and misses and had a CSW% of 33%. Is this just one good outing against a bad team, or a sign of things to come? Only time will tell.

The Astros’ offense was productive throughout the night. Although they failed to score in the first and second innings, they still put two runners on in both innings. Houston got on the board in the 3rd with a 3-run double by Yainer Diaz. Jake Meyers doubled in Diaz on the next AB to extend the lead to four.

And then history happened, or at least we hope.

Loperfido hit his first career home run to right field! He has played well so far, and we all hope this is the first of many home runs he will hit. However, even if he is just a league-average hitter, he will still be valuable to the organization.

The Astros scored two more runs in the fourth, but they were superfluous as the Houston pitchers only allowed a single run. The Astros did leave the bases loaded in the 5th inning, but in an 8-0 ballgame, it didn’t feel significant.

Final Score: Astros 8, A’s 1.

The defensive play of the night was from Alex Bregman in the top of the 6th. Take a look below.

Alex Bregman has been a slow starter the past few years, so most people expected him to bounce back after a slow start this April; but even I am surprised by just how well he has played the past week. When Alex Bregman is healthy, he is one of the best players in the league.

As we entered May, the Astros dynasty was under scrutiny, with many analysts questioning its future. The team’s performance was not at its peak. Still, it’s important to remember that drawing conclusions from a one-month sample is usually inaccurate. So far, the team has played well, not great, in May, which is a significant step up from April.

Sweeping the A’s may not seem like a big deal, but let’s remember that, after tonight, the Astros are only a game ahead of Oakland. Perhaps this A’s team is better than in years past. Regardless, a win against the A’s counts the same as a win in the Bronx. Hopefully, the Astros can put together many more series like this one.

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