Houston Astros fans have watched more Texas Rangers baseball this weekend than they have before because the Astros are deep in the playoffs chase. For the first time in a decade. The Astros are knocking on the door of the postseason. While at one point this season the Astros appeared to be ready to claim their stake as the AL West leader for years to come, a poor September brought them back to earth in 2015. However, the Astros are red-hot right now behind the re-emerging Chris Carter. I remember another team that went on a hot streak before the playoffs, they were the 2014 Kansas City Royals who made it to the World Series. It starts by sweeping the Diamondbacks.
Could the Astros, who struggled in September, be getting hot at the right time? Tonight’s game will give us a better idea. The Astros had a one-game lead over the Angels, who beat the Rangers today 11-10 in a back-and-forth game. With the Angels beating the Rangers in back to back games, this could have opened the opportunity for the Astros to tie for the AL West title. However, for this to happen, the Astros would have to sweep the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Also, earlier today, the Baltimore Orioles beat the Yankees. While it’s a long shot for the Orioles to win the last two games, we have seen down the stretch this year that anything is possible. Should the Astros win the next two games, and the Yankees lose, the Astros would leapfrog the Yankees to the AL Wild-Card 1. They would both be wild-card teams, so why does this matter?
The difference is big-time with these Astros because it would mean the Yankees would come to Houston instead of the Astros going to the Big Apple. The Astros have been far better at home versus on the road this season, so this could be the difference for the Astros in a one game play-in. The x-factor for the Astros will be Dallas Keuchel, who has dominated the Yanks on the home and the road. The left-hander has not allowed a run in 16 innings versus the Yankees in two games this year. Even with Keuchel on the mound, it would still be better for the Astros to play at home. The Astros need to sweep the Diamondbacks.
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The only way the Angels can get in is if the Astros lose at least one game. If the Astros lose a game, the best the outcome they can ask for is the Angels losing tomorrow, but then that will mess up the chances of catching the Rangers will go out the door. If the Astros lose one game, and the Angels win tomorrow, the Angels will play a tie-breaker game on Monday night. Let’s make sure that the Angels don’t leap frog the Astros, the Astros need to sweep the Diamondbacks.
The Minnesota Twins were eliminated from playoff competition today, so kudos to their strides this year. But the Astros have proved to be the better team all season. It wouldn’t hurt to add a couple more wins to show that the Astros are better, we need to sweep the Diamondbacks just for fun.
CTH: Playoff Coverage