The Houston Astros are off to a historic to begin the 2017 season, and the word historic is to be taken literally.
The Houston Astros currently sit at 42-18, the best record in baseball. To put this in perspective, that is five games clear of the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies, and 10 games clear of the New York Yankees, the second best record in the American League so far this season.
What has led the Astros to such a historic start? Well, simply put, the same formula that they rebuilt on. The Astros are doing this with lights out team defense- .983 team fielding percentage, hitting the ball out of the ballpark- 92 home runs, and a bullpen that once it gets the ball with the lead, well, goodnight- every single member of that bullpen has a strikeout per nine inning ratio north of 10, including an eye-popping 15.79 from right hander James Hoyt.
It also helps that staff ace Dallas Keuchel is on pace to run away with his second American League Cy Young Award this season. Keuchel currently stands with a record of 9-0 an an ERA of 1.67 through 11 starts.
So how historic is this start?
The live ball era record for wins in a season are the 2001 Seattle Mariners with a record of 116-56. The 1906 Chicago Cubs own the best winning percentage in baseball history, as they also won 116 games, but they did it in 10 fewer games. They also did it prior to the start of the live ball era, which began in 1920.
After the Mariners and Cubs 116 wins we have the 1998 New York Yankees with a record of 114-48. Next down the list is the 1954 Cleveland Indians with a record of 111-43. Next down is the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates with a record of 110-42, pre-live ball era mind you though.
Then we have the legendary 1927 New York Yankees, led by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, also with 110 wins, although 44 losses instead of 42. Then we have the Roger Maris and Micky Mantle-led 1961 New York Yankees, with a record of 109-53. To round it out we have the 1969 Baltimore Orioles, also with a record of 109-53.
These are some of the greatest teams ever assembled in baseball history. So why I am listing their records?
Because the 2017 Houston Astros are on pace to win 117 games.
Just let that one marinate for a while and keep an eye on what could turn out to be a historic season that includes breaking a record we thought would never be broken.