For the first time since 2001, the Astros clinch a division title.
Thanks to a superb performance from Justin Verlander and the lineup, the Astros came away with their first-ever AL West title.
It was quite a sight to see on Sunday afternoon.
Besides a strong home debut from Verlander, the Astros’ offense sprung to life. For example, Carlos Correa picked up his 21st home run of the season. The dinger was, in fact, his first major league home run since July 9th at Toronto. In that particular game, Correa smashed two home runs. Yes, it’s been a while. And it could be a good sign for the games to come.
Outside of Verlander, the bullpen had a solid showing as both Chris Devenski and Ken Giles pitched a scoreless inning. This could be a winning formula in the postseason for Houston.
Plenty has changed since the Astros last division title when they were a member of the NL Central.
* U.S. President: George W. Bush
* Number one song per Billboard: “Hanging By A Moment” by Lifehouse
* “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was released in theaters
* Astros’ uniform set: Black-and-brick red
* Seasons removed from the Astrodome: 2
* Years to iPhone release: 6
* Tony Eusebio’s last season in the majors
* Craig Biggio hit counter by the end of 2001 season: 2,149 hits
* Roy Oswalt was a rookie starting pitcher
* Current Astros second baseman, Jose Altuve, was only 11 years old in 2001
And here is a fun(?) fact about the Seattle Mariners’ manager.
* Current Mariners manager Scott Servais last appeared as a player in the majors in 2001. 2001 was the previous division title for the Astros. Houston clinched their latest division title with Servais as the opposing manager.
Honestly, I do not recall much of Houston’s last division title back in 2001. I remember pieces, but I was only 12 years old. I’m 28 years old today. Yes, this division title was a long time coming.
Alas, a division title is only the first step towards postseason glory. The next goal is home field advantage throughout the ALDS and ALCS.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and MLB.com**