The Astros scored 19 runs in a game for the first time in nearly two years, beating the Blue Jays 19-1 on Sunday afternoon. For the Jays, it’s their most lopsided loss since falling 23-1 to the Orioles on September 28, 2000.
The 2-3-4 spots in the Astros’ lineup — Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Evan Gattis — combined to go 9-for-14 with four walks, a double, four home runs, 12 RBI, and nine runs scored. Correa had two home runs, giving him 20 on the season heading into the All-Star break. Altuve is now hitting .347/.417/.551.
The Astros head into the break having scored 527 runs, by far the most in baseball. The Nationals are second at 483 as of this writing. Sunday’s 19-1 win gives the Astros a +162 run differential, also now the best in baseball. The Dodgers entered Sunday at +160. At +162 over 89 games, the Astros are on pace to finish at +295, which would set a franchise record. The 1998 Astros, who went 102-60, had a +254 run differential. With a 60-29 record, the Astros are on pace to win 109 games. Not too shabby.
Astros starter Justin Verlander was voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner. Teammate Gerrit Cole finished in a close second place at 159 points. Charlie Morton finished third at 75 points, Shane Bieber fourth at 64, Lance Lynn fifth at 18, Eduardo Rodríguez and Lucas Giolito sixth at eight, and Mike Minor eighth at seven.
Verlander, 36, won the AL Cy Young Award (and AL MVP Award) in 2011 with the Tigers). He and Cole became the first pair of teammates to finish first and second on the ballot for the AL Cy Young Award. Four NL teammates accomplished the feat: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2001 and ’02, Don Newcomb and Sal Maglie in 1956, and Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith in 1974.
During the regular season, Verlander led all starting pitchers in wins (21), games started (34), innings pitched (223), and WHIP (0.803). He also compiled a 2.58 ERA with a 300/42 K/BB ratio. Along with a 300-strikeout season, Verlander achieved other milestones, including reaching 3,000 strikeouts for his career and 200 career postseason strikeouts (an all-time record).
2019 was not without controversy for Verlander, a future Hall of Famer, as he had a well-publicized disagreement with Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. He tried to have Fenech barred from the clubhouse during media availability despite the collective bargaining agreement ensuring access to BBWAA-credentialed reporters. It was one of many Astros-related scandals in 2019.
Verlander is the first Astro to win the Cy Young Award since Dallas Keuchel in 2015. Roger Clemens (2004) and Mike Scott (1986) also won the award back when the Astros were in the National League.