2018 Houston Astros
2018 Houston Astros / Franchise: Houston Astros / BR Team Page
Managed by A.J. Hinch
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2018 Houston Astros came into the season as the defending World Champions, an unfamiliar poistion given their win in seven games over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the series the previous November had been a first in franchise history. Still, no one expected much of a hangover, as the team was still very young, and had managed to improve on an already strong group of starting pitchers with the acquisition of P Gerrit Cole in the off-season, while not losing any significant part. Veteran DH Carlos Beltran had retired after the World Series, but his contribution the previous year had been limited, as he was already well on the down side of a brilliant career. The main concern remained the bullpen, which had been shaken badly in the postseason, forcing manager A.J. Hinch to rely on multiple-inning stints by unexpected pitchers to compensate for the struggles of short relievers like Ken Giles, Chris Devenski and Will Harris.
The Astros showed they were still a force to be reckoned with in early June, when they reeled off a club record 12 straight wins from June 6-18, to improve to 49-25. They were again in first place in the AL West, 2 games ahead of the surprising Seattle Mariners. On June 20th, they became the first major league team to 50 wins by slugging four homers, including a pair by Jose Altuve in a 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. On June 28th, they tied a club record with their 11th straight road win.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, George Springer and Justin Verlander
- Ted Berg: "Astros offseason report: Club loaded, eyeing a repeat", USA Today Sports, February 24, 2018. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Astros may have the 'nastiest' rotation ever - and thanks to Trevor Bauer, they're mad, too", USA Today Sports, May 7, 2018. 
- Mike Petriello: "Astros' arms look even better than 2017 champs: Full seasons of Verlander, Cole likely to boost already-strong staff", mlb.com, April 11, 2018. 
- Bill Whitehead: "Hinch likes what he sees as season nears: Astros manager pleased with squad's performance this spring", mlb.com, March 13, 2018.