Monday’s Say Hey, Baseball looks at the recently unstoppable Astros, Albert Pujols’ 600th homer, and the start of the NCAA tourney.
Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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The Astros just completed their third consecutive sweep, and have won 10 games in a row. They're 15-4 over their last five series, and they only dropped one during the entire month of May: a three-game sweep at the hands of the Indians that somehow accounted for three of the four losses in the stretch mentioned above. They've basically been unstoppable outside of that Cleveland set.
Houston is 13.5 games up on the second-place Angels, who are only two games under .500 and just 2.5 out of a wild card spot. There's only one other team outside the AL West this season that's at least 13.5 games out from the division leader, and that's the NL East's last-place Phillies, who sit 15.5 back of the Nationals. And as good as the Nats have been, they've notched six fewer victories than the 'Stros, and lost four more games.
It's not as if the Astros have been facing scrubs, either. The Rangers have gone 1-6 against Houston, and are .500 against the rest of the league. Similarly, the Angels might be two games under .500, but they can thank going 2-5 against Houston for part of that. More convincing is Houston plowing through the first-place Yankees and Twins while helping push the Orioles down in the AL East race in the last few weeks. Houston is making an impact, and not just in the west.
June might be a relatively soft month for them, too. They have to face the now second-place Red Sox mid-month, but otherwise, they get to look forward to helping after helping of AL West competition, along with a series against the struggling Royals. Baseball is cruel, but as things stand, Houston has the chance to extend their lead over the rest of the league even further.
- Maybe you're bored by Albert Pujols hitting 600 homers because you've gotten used to it happening in your life. He very well could be the last one for decades to get there, though, so turn that boredom into appreciation.
- Jose Iglesias put on his sports entertainer pants this weekend, slapping a tag on Yolmer Sanchez while flipping over in a move that would take the umpire with him. He's lucky he did'n't get the DQ!
- The 2017 NCAA baseball tournament kicked off this weekend, and Davidson has come out of nowhere to become your favorite.
- Xavier's third baseman nabbed a line drive, and used the opportunity to take a little celebratory nap.
- Jason Grilli might be striking batters out, but everything opponents touch is torching him. It's time for the Blue Jays to confront the reality facing their 40-year-old reliever.
- Michael Baumann looks back at Albert Pujols' rise to 600 homers through the prism of six homers.
- Carson Smith is almost back to make his 2017 Red Sox debut following Tommy John surgery, and here's what Boston can expect from the setup man.
- If you're wondering where all that "Bryce Harper to the Cubs" talk came from this weekend, well, it all started with a tweet.
- With all these successful young Yankees around, it's time for the team to start talking extensions.
- Worried about the Cubs? Here's how previous postseason teams of theirs were doing one-third of the way through the season.
- Meg Rowley broke down the greatest baseball rule she's found, one we've never really seen in action.