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Astros Are Primed For Historic Run in The Second Half

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Jul 10, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) is carried by teammates after hitting a walk off RBI single during the tenth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park. The Astros defeated the Athletics 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) is carried by teammates after hitting a walk off RBI single during the tenth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park. The Astros defeated the Athletics 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Astros World Series title run we have all waited for is here.

Years from now, the Astros final 73 games of this season will be the games you will be proud to say you lived, breathed, and consumed with all your memories. This will be the drive where we flipped the switch on Texas, establish our dominance of the AL West, and finally land in the playoffs with control of our rotation set up.

We won’t have Roy Oswalt going in Game 3, and we won’t have Dallas Keuchel spent in the one-game AL Wild Card. This is the season where breaks will go our way, set our desired path, and I advise that we should all absorb as much of the winning as our souls can hold. This is the run we have all dreamed of for a long time, don’t let it pass you by.

The 2016 Astros almost tombstone season

Baseball is a game of percentages that seem to even out over the course of time. If that is the case, then the Astros are primed for a historic run. The Astros had enough bad breaks, bad hops, and balls hit right at the fielders in the first month of the season, that a 7-17 record for April could have actually been worse.

The early season wake-up call to answer the 7-17 mark was a blessing in disguise. Very few teams have the tight-knit clubhouse, or intestinal fortitude to bounce back. The Astros are proving they are legit in all physical and mental aspects of the game. The Astros are 41-24 since that dismal start catapulting them to seventeen games above .500 since the first month ended. On June 29, the Astros were ten games behind Texas, and in a matter of 12 days, they have cut that lead to 5.5 games back of our evil rival.

A quick look at the history of the Astros reveals they are known for their historical second half runs. In 2005 they owned a 15-30 record, for which the Houston Chronicle printed a tombstone on the front cover of the Sports section of the newspaper. The Stros responded to their early season ‘death’ by winning 74 out of the remaining 117 games providing the team’s first appearance in the World Series. In 2004, the Astros had a record at the break of 44-44 and finished the season winning 48 of their final 74 games for a 92-70 record.

Those two seasons were not only two of the best in Astro history, but among the greatest second half’s ever. With a team that tends to repeat, they have a history of putting it all together on the backstretch to make great runs. This year is going to be more historical than a great run to make the playoffs and go all the way through the playoffs this time.

The Future at Third Base will arrive soon

Going a little off topic to support my point, I want to talk briefly about an adjustment that needs to be made. After reading and writing about a young player named Alex Bregman, I was able to see him first hand at the Futures game in San Diego.

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The Cardinals had the starting pitcher representing the World Team by the name of Alex Reyes, and we will all know of him soon enough. Reyes throws two devastating pitches, a curveball, and a fastball that sat at 99 mph that often touched 101 mph. As you might expect Reyes made a couple of hitters look real bad with strikeouts, but he was not the most dominant Reyes in a first inning matchup.

Bregman lit up a 99 mph fastball like it was a beach ball for a triple to the right-centerfield gap. Bregman would later follow that up with a double, and a single before popping up in an obvious attempt to give the All-Star crowd a cycle. It has been reported that Astros GM Jeff Luhnow would like to see him struggle before calling hm up, but I am not sure that struggling is part of Bregman’s resume. A player with this much talent needs to be on the roster for these next 73 games. If you are asking where you put him, my answer would be anywhere that he has a chance to swing the bat.

Looking At the Second Half

Coming out of the break the Astros one, three and four hitters all have 50 runs batted in, and on-base averages above .360. The man of the month of July has been Luis Valbuena, and he is loving the spotlight in big game situations and is on a torrid home run terror. The Astros must move Valbuena to first base, bring Bregman up to play third base, and experiment a little longer with A.J. Reed as the DH. Give Marwin Gonzalez a chance to recoup for the last two months of giving everyone a break.

With the emergence of Carlos Gomez over the last month, the Astros have a lineup that continues to get tougher and tougher for opposing pitchers. The Astros are a hot team right now, and Bregman carries a no fear attitude that will translate nicely to more pitches thrown for opposing pitchers and extended innings for Astros hitters.

Could the Astros improve through a trade? I am sure they could. Can the Astros improve the team without giving up wins in the future? I don’t think they can, and I don’t think they should try. It is going to break my heart to see Josh Hader dominating baseball for years to come knowing we had him. Houston native Daniel Mengden was brilliant against us last week until Gomez tattooed his shoulder with a line drive. Vincent Velasquez was another arm we would watch develop at a distance. If there is an area where all teams cannot have enough talent, it is on the bump.

Following the Fresno Grizzlies report, it shows that we have more solid arms on the way. Brady Rodgers has dominated AAA, while Joseph Musgrove and his 95 mph fastball started for the USA Team in the Futures Game and looked solid giving up nothing.

Club Astros the Next Killer B’s?

Growing up and hearing about how Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio ran the clubhouse I have become a big proponent of team chemistry.

George Springer‘s “Club Astros” may not be the same style the Killer B’s implemented, but the underlying respect for the game and approach to business at hand has remained the staple. Jake Marisnick was hurt last year by the acquisition of Gomez, and I could see it ripple through his teammates who felt that the emotional spark plug Marisnick lost playing time. Eventually, they pulled it together, but the point is trading for a star, may not have the same impact as leaving a close-knit family to fight together.

Following this team closely for 36 years, I have seen greatness in1994, but there is not going to be a baseball strike in 2016 to take away our World Series hopes. There is no Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, or John Smoltz that get a 23-inch home plate (by a reputation) for a clear advantage. Looking back at the Astros vs. Mets series in 1986, I will say we have since mastered the art of the extra-inning baseball game.

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Where ever I look at this Astros team today, I see them taking a step past what may have been an obstacle in the past. You could say those were different teams, yes they were, but they addressed the needs of today’s teams based on learning from past years mistakes. The roster gives you the impression that the whole of the team may very well represent greatness.

This Astros team is a close knit family that carries an attitude that you point out to the young ones. They are deep in all aspects of the game, they run, they hit, hit for power, they pitch at the start through the end, and they may have the best defensive outfield’s you will ever see in baseball. In the next week, the ‘Stros should be adding Bregman to put the final piece in place to make this historic World Series Run.

Next: What if the Astros don't make any trades

Over the next three month’s we will all have busy lives, but you will be glad that you made watching this historic run a priority in your life. We have yet to have a World Series title, and you have now been let in on the secret. The opportunity to view your team’s World Series title run started in April, but you can see the best part, the final 73 games starting Friday.

**Statistics provided by Baseball-Reference.com**

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