With the Houston Astros regular season winding down, it will come down to the final 16 games of the season.
How relevant these games will depend on how the Houston Astros play versus the Seattle Mariners this weekend. To even remotely consider making the postseason, Houston would have to go 12-4 or 13-3. While it’s not impossible, the Astros would have to play over their head.
Should the team lose two games versus the Mariners this weekend, they would only be able to lose one or two games the rest of the way. While the Astros are past the stretch of terror versus the top teams in baseball, they face some of the weaker teams in baseball. The Mariners currently have a two-game lead over the Stros.
After an eight-game winning streak, the Mariners have made themselves a relevant team again. The Stros hitters have a challenge tonight as they face Feliz Hernandez, but he has struggled at times versus the H-Town lineup. The Astros have an elimination number of 6, which is a combination of Wild Card leaders wins and Houston losses. Can the team go on a streak?
If the team was firing on all cylinders, that type of finish would be possible. We are without our two top pitchers in Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers. The starting rotation has shown the signs of tearing down with Doug Fister and Collin McHugh faltering lately. Largely forgotten Brad Peacock has returned to the rotation.
The bullpen has had its ups and downs this year, but they struggled versus the Rangers this week late in the games. Most notably the ninth inning meltdown by Ken Giles on Tuesday, allowing two runs to score to give away the game. Outside of Chris Devenski and Will Harris at times, the rest of the bullpen has not been consistent.
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We are still waiting on word on how severe the injury are to Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, both injuries potentially season ending. However, they could return shortly if the injuries are not serious. With a 7% chance of making the playoffs, any bad news or loss will further lower the chances in 2016.
Last season, we all felt that the main thing the Astros needed to address was adding a shutdown closer. While they did address that need, they still have blown 18 saves in 56 opportunities this year. This year, they must add to the starting pitching depth. Joseph Musgrove has shown signs, but they need a real number one.
For this miracle to occur this season, we need McHugh, Mike Fiers, Peacock, Musgrove, and Fister to pitch lights out. At one point, A.J. Hinch had too many starters. Not anymore. No matter if the Astros make the playoffs or not, I will still be there watching every game. Will you?
***Stats from MLB.com and ESPN Team stats page***