Astros: After facing top teams in the AL, the schedule gets easier
By Eric Huysman
Welcome to Day 1 of the 2018 MLB draft where the Astros will be picking 28th overall.
The Houston Astros are now 37-24 after dropping the final two games of the Red Sox series. By looking around Astros Twitter last night, people are freaking out about the Astros losing more recently and the Mariners winning. After last night’s loss to the Red Sox, the Mariners are in first place for the first time in 2018.
Ok, you should not be worried about this. No, this isn’t the Gif of the dog in the burning house saying, “this is fine.” The Astros have just gone through their toughest stretch of the season in the past three weeks. We discussed this on last night’s Talking Stros, the Mariners have played some of the weaker teams in the division.
Meanwhile, the Astros have faced the best the AL has to offer.
The rough stretch began on May 14th when they faced the Angels (currently 32-28), they lost the first game of the series 1-2. After that loss, they won the next two games in California. They came back home to face the Indians (currently 30-28), who were around .500 but leading the AL Central. With some strong performances by the rotation, they won two of those games. Believe it or not, the Indians have a worse bullpen than the Astros.
We had a brief cake walk versus the San Francisco (currently 29-30), they went to Cleveland to face the Indians again three days later. The two teams were very aware of the other teams’ weaknesses. After winning the first two games of the series, the Astros dropped the final two games. At that point, they had won eight of those twelve games. Then came the real challenge.
After dropping the final two games in Clevland, the Astros went to New York to play the Yankees for a three-game series. Outside of the dominant start by Justin Verlander in the win in the first game of that series, luck wasn’t on the Astros side. You can only hold down the Yankees offense for so long, just ask Brad Peacock and Dallas Keuchel. Both games were winnable, but the bullpen couldn’t limit the Yankees.
Once again, the Astros start another series after losing the last two of the series before. The Red Sox come to town with their star Mookie Betts hurting. This proved to be an advantage in the first two games, but the bullpen let Verlander down Saturday, and Charlie Morton had a bad day on Friday. The Astros finished that stretch of 19 games by winning 11 of them. So many of those games were winnable, but that’s baseball.
Don’t stress out about the recent struggles.
Both Brandon and I see the Astros going on a big winning stretch until the All-Star break. Outside of a few teams, the competition goes down a notch for the next month. Let’s take a look.
- 2 home games vs. Mariners (37-22)
- 4 away games vs. Rangers (25-37)
- 3 away games vs. Athletics (31-29)
- 3 away games vs. Royals (21-38)
- 3 home games vs. Rays (28-30)
- 3 home games vs. Blue Jays (26-33)
- 4 road games vs. Rays (28-30)
- 2 road games vs. Rangers (25-37)
- 4 home games vs. White Sox (18-38)
- 4 home games vs. Athletics (31-29)
- 3 home games vs. Tigers (28-31)
Any team can beat any other team on any given night, but the Astros appear to be getting a break in the schedule. The only teams that currently have a winning record at the moment are the Mariners and Athletics. My co-host Brandon went so far as to say they will have a ten game lead in the AL West at the end of June or beginning of July.
The Mariners have a good team, but the Astros should be around for the long haul. Things will get better offensively when Josh Reddick returns. We also discussed how Jake Marisnick has about a week to prove that he belongs because the Super 2 deadline has come and gone. If the offense continues to struggle, maybe Kyle Tucker may get some consideration.
Next: A look at the needs of the farm system
This team is built to win, and they should do that a lot in June. They should also start looking to improve the bullpen before the trade deadline.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***