Astros AM: Houston has tied Seattle for 2nd in AL West

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Aug 22, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman (2) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home as Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison (L) reacts during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Astros won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 22, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman (2) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home as Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison (L) reacts during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Astros won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Astros season is not over yet folks. We still have 33 games to play.

The Astros now have 67 wins and 61 losses, which is the exact record the Seattle Mariners have. The Astros had a hold of second place in the AL West for a while but were passed by the Mariners during their slump. With a three-game winning streak, the Stros look for a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays today. They face a struggling ace, Chris Archer.

On the mound for the Astros would be Doug Fister, who has been the most consistent pitcher for the Astros this season. With last night’s 6-2 win, the Astros have clinched a third straight series win since the two-game sweep by the Cardinals. After being 61-60 with the playoff hopes fading with a five-game losing streak. Since that moment, the Astros have a 7-1 record during the last eight games.

The Astros offense and pitching tends to be streaky, but they could be heating up at the right moment to finish the season. I’ve listened to a local talk show host on the way home, and he has not been overly positive recently. I normally agree with what is said, but I disagree that the season is a failure without reaching the playoffs.

If the Astros put up a good run to get back into the race and fall a game or so short, the future is still bright. They have relied on plenty of rookies this season who are going to have some bumps along the road. Would I be disappointed? Yes, but look at the experience some of our future stars were able to get this season. By giving Alex Bregman a chance to work on things, he could have hurt the Astros for about 38 at-bats. However, he has become an offensive force recently.

The rise of Bregman

Last night Bregman showed that he was human when he made two errors early in the game. He made another poor throw, but Marwin Gonzalez was able to get the out. Dallas Keuchel didn’t let those errors turn into runs, so in my mind, the errors hurt nothing. Bregman also made some flashy plays later, so there is no need for concern with his defense at third base. 

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Last night, Bregman raised his batting average to .242 with a two for four night at the plate. He extended the 2-0 lead to 4-0 after his two-run shot in the third inning. He added a RBI single in the fourth inning, extending the lead to 5-0. After his 2-38 start to his MLB career, Bregman has played well and has hit for impressive power.

Batting second in the lineup, A.J. Hinch expects this guy to be a big part of the lineup for years to come.

Gurriel powers up

Despite being relegated to a pinch hitter in the Pirates series, Yulieski Gurriel has looked impressive in his home debut. Friday night, Gurriel got his first hit in a one for three performance. However, he had a breakout game last night getting his first extra-base hit in the Major Leagues. He went two for three with two doubles and his first run batted in as well.

Next: The Dilemma Alex Bregman Has Made for the Houston Astros

If Gurriel can become an offensive force, this team could be on the verge of overpowering their competition. He is currently batting .400 on the season, but he appears to be the designated hitter at the moment. Bregman has not taken a day off recently. Maybe Gurriel could give him a day off at third base today. We will see.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***

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