After losing the last 2 games of a 3 game series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Houston Astros are eliminated for .500 record-contention. With 6 games now remaining, Houston is 8 games under equilibrium at 74-82. The Stros had looked like their second half push was going to offset an ugly first half well enough to get back to .500 but alas. Houston has now lost 5 of 6 with 3 straight losses to the Nationals before the Pittsburgh series.
Tonight, Houston begins a 3-game series with division leaders the Cincinnati Reds who clinch the Central title with a victory. The Reds won 7 of the first 8 games against Houston this year but that was before the Astros had turned the corner and improved their play the second half of the year. Houston has taken 3 of the last 4 and will be looking to play spoiler. And frankly, from here on out moral victories will have to do. Hopefully for a couple more days, the champagne in the Reds’ locker room will be corked harder than a Sammy Sosa bat.