So, is it too early to send the Mariners a thank you card for their contributions to the Astros on Tuesday night?
Entering Tuesday, the Astros needed a victory and an A’s loss to clinch the AL West title for the second consecutive year. Based on the title of the post, it is clear to see what happened.
THE ASTROS HAVE WON THE AL WEST TITLE FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR!
Thanks in part to Josh James and Alex Bregman, the Astros came away with their 100th win of the 2018 season in Toronto. Incidentally, this is only the third time in franchise history that the club has won at least 100 games. It is also the quickest that any Astros team has reached 100 wins in a season, and it is the first time in franchise history to reach 100 wins in back-to-back seasons.
Quite the accomplishment, right?
But clinching the AL West title on Tuesday wouldn’t have been possible without the late-inning heroics from the Mariners as Seattle prevailed over Oakland in extra innings. As one could expect, the Astros were pretty pumped once Chris Hermann hit a walk-off two-run homer that helped clinch the AL West title.
Thanks to the outcome from Tuesday night, the Astros head into the ALDS with the Indians as their opponent. Remember this is the matchup from last season that everyone expected in October, yet it did not occur. In 2018, the Astros posted a 4-3 record against the Indians with a plus-16 run differential.
Here is the schedule (without game times) for the upcoming ALDS between Houston and Cleveland.
Game 1: Friday, October 5th at Minute Maid Park in Houston
Game 2: Saturday, October 6th at Minute Maid Park in Houston
Game 3: Monday, October 8th at Progressive Field in Cleveland
Game 4: Tuesday, October 9th at Progressive Field in Cleveland (if needed)
Game 5: Thursday, October 11th at Minute Maid Park in Houston (if needed)
The upcoming ALDS against the Indians should be a fun series. For one, both teams have represented the AL during the World Series in the previous two seasons. There is also the chance for an excellent pitcher duel or two. Depending on how the team’s utilize their starting pitchers, we could be treated to Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, former college teammates with an interesting past, appearing in the same game.
That said, the Astros still have a series to finish in Toronto before making a stop in Baltimore as the regular season ends. Since they’ve already clinched the AL West title, Houston now has time to rest players and set their postseason rotation. Lance McCullers is scheduled to make an appearance before the end of the season, and his progress will determine if he makes the postseason roster. The same goes for other pitchers on the active roster.
Take time over the next day or so to relish in the fact that the Astros have another AL West title and another 100-win season. But the road for a second World Series title becomes much more treacherous as the ALDS comes into view late next week.