A common adage in sports has been to do well in your own division. This is something that the Astros have had issues with in the past.
Astros fans are currently reminiscing about last night’s 9-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics. And who can blame them? Ten straight wins against any major league team is something worthy to be gawk at even for a moment.
Anytime you best a divisional opponent, there should be an euphoric feeling, even if slight, in you. This feeling is also fleeting and short-lived in baseball as the next game is usually less than twenty-four hours later. Baseball is just a cruel mistress that doesn’t care about your feelings.
The Astros strong start in the AL West, though, is much needed as victories are not always a guranteed commodity. Odds are that the AL West will be a relatively competitive division if the dominoes fall in the right way.
Now, let’s remove ourselves from this sentimental rubbish.
We are still in April and there is plenty of baseball left to be played. And while a 11-3 division record at this point in the season is nice and encouraging, it could be a red herring of sorts. After all, the Astros have yet to play the one team they just can’t to seem to conquer: the Texas Rangers. You may remember them as the ballclub that has a 28-10 record against the Astros the past two seasons.
Regardless of how Houston has competed with the Athletics, Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels, the Rangers have always had their number. It’s quite frankly difficult to explain in a meaningful manner. Simply put, the Astros have done the equivalent of soiling themselves at the first sight of the Rangers in recent years. It is arguable that their dreadful record against Texas has costed them at least one postseason appearance and one division title.
The Astros do not play the Rangers for the first time in 2017 until this Monday, May 1st. Andrew Cashner will likely start for Texas while Lance McCullers likely represents Houston as it is his turn in the rotation. That’ll be the day when the Astros need to back all of their offseason boasting and finally level the playing field with their in-state rivals. If they can do that then the Astros’ first-ever AL West crown is looking more realistic in 2017. Well, as much as it can in May.
**Record information courtesy of Baseball Reference**