Houston Astros: July’s Magic Numbers to keep the divisional lead

ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 2: Dallas Keuchel
ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 2: Dallas Keuchel /

The Astros continue to lead the MLB in wins, going 16-10 through the games played this month.

The Astros only went 3-7 against non-divisional opponents. More importantly, these games were against potential playoff opponents, the Red Sox, and Royals. Though they did not reach the magic numbers, I proposed last month. The month was very productive with the injuries incurred to the rotation.

What’s in Store for July

The Astros will play eight games before the All-Star Break. They’ll complete the series against the Yankees, play a short two-game set against the Braves and travel to Toronto for a four game against the Blue Jays.

After the break, they’ll be home to face the Twins in a three-game set, followed by the Mariners for another three-game series. The team will hit the road to play three games against the Orioles, Phillies, Tigers. Lastly, they’ll end July with a home game against the Rays, starting with a four games series.

Road Games a Plenty

Of the 24 games in July, only 9 are home games. Not only that, only three of these games will be against a divisional opponent. I don’t expect much different this month, as they are 29-9 on the road, with a .761 winning percentage. The Astros have clearly defined themselves as the best team in the American League. The magic number of wins for their divisional and overall standing is not as relevant this month.

The truth is, there really is no magic number of wins for the Astros. However, there are two numbers which all fans will want to account for in July:

First, how many games will we see Dallas Keuchel pitch?

As he awaits medical clearance, it is reassuring to hear Keuchel say he would pitch now if needed. This shows he is capable of working through an injury, but the caution with his injury was necessary. All in all, he is saying the right things and working to return for the second half of this season and postseason.

Second, how many rehab starts for Collin McHugh?

All signs positive as Collin McHugh returns to the mound tonight. This is a great step in his return to the rotation and will show us where he stands both mentally and physically with his abilities.

Next: Houston Astros: Mark DeRosa proposes another deal

All in all, this is a big month for the club. As this team looks towards the postseason, the questions will not go unanswered. This is why my focus is on the pitching progress of Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh. Their progress will shift the landscape of the Astros trade needs.

***Stats and Data courtesy of ESPN.com***