The Astros Have a 12 Game Stretch Versus 3 of 4 Teams Below .500.
The Houston Astros held their own versus the nemesis St. Louis Cardinals in a two-game mini-series this past week. They had the chance to sweep the Cincinnati Reds but fell in extra innings in Friday’s Star Wars night disturbing the Force the Astros have built recently. Even the best teams will lose from time to time, but their failure to turn double plays have haunted them recently.
The Astros took advantage of a stretch recently playing the under .500 teams of baseball as they went 14-1 during that stretch. The Astros begin another similar stretch over the next two weeks, with the lone exception being the rival Kansas City Royals who host a weekend road series this week. The Astros will face the Angels, Royals, Angels again, and the Chicago White Sox over the next 12 games.
The Angels were such a good team for a few years, but the made several bad investments and didn’t develop a good farm system. They are where the Astros were after the sale of the Astros to Jim Crane, and they need to go through the process to rebuild their team despite the fact that they could have the best player in baseball in Mike Trout. This year, the Astros are 2-1 versus the Angels.
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I’ll play conservative, and I think the Astros need to go 5-1 versus the Angels in the next 12 games. I’ll give the Angels credit for that extra inning game that the Astros typically play and lose. This is the opponent that the Astros need to play the best against, essentially putting the Angels out of the picture this season should be the goal. These games could also be trap games as well, so the Astros need to play sound baseball as well.
The Royals went all the way to the World Series to win following knocking the Astros out of the playoffs in 2015. The Astros have only won one of three games this versus the Royals so the Astros may get one or two wins versus the Royals this weekend. The Royals are the one team over .500 and pushing for the playoffs that they will face in the next 12 games.
The Royals know how to play team baseball, which is something the Astros need to learn to defend against. I’ll go with an optimistic two wins for the Astros versus the Royals because the Astros were not playing their best baseball when they faced them earlier in the season.
The White Sox looked like a playoff contender last time the Astros faced them, but the Astros won two of those three games versus them. The White Sox have played bad baseball, and the front office has made some moves dropping players who weren’t producing in Jimmy Rollins and Mat Latos, calling up younger players.
They have also traded for James Shields, but you have to worry about Todd Frazier and Jose Abreu. Frazier is hitting .197 with 19 homers, is he becoming Adam Dunn 2.0? The Astros should sweep the White Sox and put a cap on a great 12 games of play. However, there needs to be a few changes in the Astros lineup for this projected 10-2 stretch.
There is a name that has been discussed recently by many Astros fans, and that is slugging first base prospect A.J. Reed. Will he be called up at some point during this 12-game stretch? He has heated up at the plate, as I have written here: Let The A.J. Reed Watch Begin with His Play in Fresno. The Astros may wait till Kansas City to call him up to avoid the pressure of playing in front of the home crowd for his debut. Good luck Astros, let’s make the moves needed to make a run.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***