After starting the 2022 season 11-11, the Houston Astros reeled off an 11-game winning streak to re-solidify themselves as one of the best teams in baseball – and up six spots to No. 3 in this week’s MLB power rankings.
The Astros limited opponents to three runs or less in every game of the winning streak, including four shutouts, before losing to the Washington Nationals on Saturday. Houston bounced back for an 8-0 win on Saturday behind Justin Verlander, who is 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA in seven starts after missing the 2021 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
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Jose Altuve has been looking like his old self, batting .333 with hitting six home runs in 12 games to begin the month of May. Rookie Jeremy Peña Jr. looks like a budding star at shortstop, posting an .853 OPS with six homers and 20 RBI in his first 30 big-league games.
Houston is tied with the Los Angeles Angels atop the American League West through Sunday.
Here’s how USA TODAY Sports’ eight-person panel voted this week:
Jose Altuve celebrates a home run against the Nationals.
Rank (movement from last week
1. New York Yankees (+1)
The BX Bash Brothers: Aaron Judge (12 HR) and Giancarlo Stanton (10) among AL leaders.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (-1)
Clayton Kershaw heads to the injured list. 34-year-old had a 1.80 ERA in five starts.
3. Houston Astros (+6)
New relievers Hector Neris (0.56 ERA) and Rafael Montero (0.61 ERA) have been key.
4. New York Mets (-1)
Tylor Megill’s injury is going to ask some questions of the team’s pitching depth.
5. Milwaukee Brewers (-1)
Christian Yelich had 14 hits and 11 runs through 12 games in May.
6. San Diego Padres (-1)
Manny Machado is on pace to reach 200 hits for the first time in his career.
7. Los Angeles Angels (+3)
It might be time to start taking this team seriously in the AL West.
8. San Francisco Giants (+4)
Outfielder Luis Gonzalez (.382 average…