"She spoke to me and she said, “With this gift, you will win fourth place.”"
– Jackie Moon, Semi-Pro
Last night the Houston Astros finished off a convincing three game sweep of the Texas Rangers –in Arlington– to escape the bottom of the American League West’s 5th out of five spots for the first time since moving to the American League before the 2013 season. Game three was certainly not the Yu Darvish-Dallas Keuchel pitcher’s duel that many anticipated, but behind another “Springer Dinger” and a 4-5 Robbie Grossman kind of night (to break an 0-28 skid) the club captured a big win to vault the rival Rangers in the A.L. West standings. This excludes a tiny portion of baseball played in the first weeks of the baseball season where each game has numerically inflated value due to the small amount of games played.
But as for passing the mid-April mark, this is the very first time the Astros haven’t been the worst in the American League West this deep into the season…and by a great amount of time as we are just a few days away from the 2014 All-Star Break.
Is the changing of the guard happening (much) earlier than expected for Texas baseball? Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The Astros have notably picked first in a record three consecutive MLB Drafts in their massive rebuild that started being a responsible rebuild in 2011 under former Cardinals scouting director Jeff Luhnow taking over as Houston’s G.M.
This has been by far the brightest season in the three Luhnow seasons as the arrivals of George Springer, Jon Singleton, Jarred Cosart and the progressive emergence of players like Matt Dominguez and holy cow Jose Altuve is good at baseball.
The Astros even passed the Tampa Bay Rays in early June to rise out of the American League cellar. Over a month later they accomplished the feat of no longer being the occupant of the tough American League West cellar. Something that was expected by 2015 or 2016 at latest, but a combination of a brutal season marred by injury after injury for the Texas Rangers as well as matching up very poorly with the young, energetic, confident Houston Astros has put the team lower on the map higher in the standings for the first time in the shared existent of the American League West.
The ceiling continues to rise and the future continues to glow brighter, and the future of the Houston Astros is just getting started.
But to escape the pit of their new division is another thing crossed off the big board of rebuilding.