The Houston Astros have a long way to go before they return to any playoff contender conversation, but they have a couple of great story lines early in the season.
Starting pitcher Dallas (shouldn’t he be pitching for the Rangers) Keuchel won his fourth consecutive start in Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the offensive-challenged Mariners, while Jose Altuve continues his torrid hitting.
Altuve had two more hits, pushing his league-leading total to 70. He has recorded multiple hits in 12 of his last 15 games and has 22 multi-hit games for the season.
Hey, maybe it isn’t much, but it’s a start for the woebegone team now in its second American League season.
And here are the latest and greatest power rankings of the 10 West Division clubs:
1. Giants (2): First NL team to reach 30 wins this season; cross-bay Oakland was first in the AL
2. Athletics (1): The first four-game skid in more than a year has the A’s looking over their shoulders
3. Angels (3): A terrific week has the Angels breathing down the Athletics’ necks in AL West race
4. Dodgers (5): A tip of the GW cap goes to right-hander Josh Beckett for his no-no on Sunday
5. Rockies (4): A tip for Nolan Arenado: Rule No. 1 in trying to steal a base – don’t slide headfirst
6. Rangers (6): It has to hurt losing Prince Fielder to injury, but they still have plenty of offense
7. Padres (7): No surprise that Nick Hundley took the news of his trade to the Orioles with class
8. Mariners (8): Raise your hand if you think the Mariners (wake up Jack) should sign Morales
9. Diamondbacks (9): Skipper Kirk Gibson appears to be skipping more close calls than other skippers
10. Astros (10): Raise your hand if you thought Jose Altuve would be first big-leaguer to reach 70 hits
(Last week’s ranking in parenthesis)