The Rays made the playoffs in last 13 games in 2013, will the Astros do the same in 2016?
The Houston Astros have shaken off a terrible start to the 2016 season to be within striking distance of the playoffs. The Astros have to continue winning as many games as they can. Or they can hope that the teams currently chasing the wild card struggle. While they currently sit three games behind the Blue Jays following last night’s loss, it’s will be tough to make the playoffs.
While the Astros can scoreboard watch, the only thing that they can control is how they play themselves. If the team believes in themselves, they just need to make it a goal to win each series from now until the end. They did this versus the Mariners this weekend, they didn’t sweep them, but got the series win. With 13 games left, it’s an uphill climb.
The 2013 Rays.
We have seen teams win their way into the playoffs in their last 13 games before. The most recent one that I remember is the 2013 Tampa Bay Rays. That team went on a hot streak before the final 13 games but won ten of those last games to win a wild card shot. Part of that winning streak included a 163rd game versus the Texas Rangers, in which they won 5-2 to advance to the playoffs.
During that 13 game streak, the Rays had three walk-off wins, one 18 inning game, and faced AL East rivals. The Rays played the Rangers, Orioles, Yankees, and Blue Jays during the last 13 games. This is similar to what is happening with the 2016 Astros, they will face AL West rivals. We face the Athletics, Angels, and Mariners for the rest of the way.
While it is not given that the Astros can beat all of these teams during this stretch, they have played well versus all those teams. Most notably, the Stros have dominated the Angels this year. The Mariners had an eight-game winning streak coming into the series that concluded last night, and the other two teams are on mini two-game winning streaks.
The Wild Card Competition.
The Orioles will face the Boston Red Sox (4 games), D-Backs (3 games), Blue Jays (3 games), and Yankees (3 games). The Blue Jays will face the Mariners (3 games), Yankees (4 games), Orioles (3 games), and Red Sox (3 games). These are the two teams who currently sit in the wild card slots, but the Blue Jays have the tougher schedule. You could easily see the Blue Jays struggle versus the competition, but losing to the Mariners would hurt the Astros.
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The Tigers have an easy schedule as well, facing the Twins (3 games), Royals (3 games), Indians (4 games), and Braves (3 games). While the Indians are the toughest team on the schedule, the Braves and Twins are bad teams this year. Division rival Mariners face Toronto (3 games), Twins (3 games), Astros (3 games), and Athletics (4 games).
only team that the Astros can directly affect are the Mariners. Their fate is not in their hands looking at what they other teams will do down the stretch. The Stros can control how they play for the rest of the season. Doug Fister should not start another game until the Astros are officially out.
Every loss will decrease the Astros elimination number, but with a little Rays magic, maybe we can make the playoffs. If Houston goes 10-3 down the stretch, they will finish at 88 wins which might not be enough to clinch a wild card slot. All we can do is win and hope!
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***