Predictions for the Final Third
Aug 1, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros catcher Hank Conger (16) celebrates with first baseman Chris Carter (23) , second baseman Jose Altuve (27), and shortstop Jed Lowrie (8) after hitting a slam home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
The final 1/3 of the season for the Astros will include a large amount of games against divisional opponents in September, making them more crucial than ever.
The Astros are on pace to win 90 games this year, which means that they would need to go 29-23 in their next 52 games. This is definitely not an easy task for any team. With Springer out for all of August, it will be very tough for the Astros to take advantage of a nice, long home stand in the latter part of August.
The six games against Mike Trout and the Angels in September will be the most important of the Astros’ season and I’m looking for one of the middle-order guys like Jed Lowrie, Colby Rasmus, Luis Valbuena, or Evan Gattis to have a clutch August/September and really be the difference in a postseason run for the Astros.
Keuchel will be named the AL Cy Young winner in just a few weeks and Carlos Correa will get AL Rookie of the Year. My only remaining concern is the bullpen. I have a lot of confidence in some of the middle relievers, but I’m just not very confident in the back-end guys.
As far as wins and losses are concerned, here’s my prediction:
Astros will go 28-24 in their final 52 games, finishing 89-73 for the season and claiming an AL West Title.