The 2019 postseason playoffs are upon us once again, and the Houston Astros have never been in the position they’re in this season.
What a season it’s been for the Astros! A franchise-record 107 wins, two potential Cy Young award winners in Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, an obvious choice for the Rookie of the Year Award in Yordan Alvarez, and an MVP type season from Alex Bregman. They ended up with the best overall record in the Major Leagues and now have home-field advantage throughout the entirety of the playoffs, starting with the Tampa Bay Rays.
But all the work starts over again as the Astros start the division series on Friday against the Rays. As we all know, the playoffs are a totally different animal. Ask the 2001 Seattle Mariners who won 116 games and lost in the first round. It’s the race to 11 wins, and it’s anyone’s game when it comes to the fight for the World Series Championship.
Let’s take a quick look at the two teams lineups, rotations, notable players, and what might push each team towards the verge of hoisting the commissioner’s trophy.
The Starting Rotations
ERA – 3.61, K – 1063, BAA – .218, IP – 907.1, BB – 251, OBP – .276
ERA – 3.64, K – 796, BAA – .230, IPs – 702.1, BB – 191, OBP – .287
Two very similar teams, according to the stats. The only difference being the strikeout totals, which tends to be different when you have two workhorses named Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole notching over 300 each. Also, the fact that the Rays often deploy the opener method and also lost their ace Blake Snell mid-season to arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow.
Time will tell if Snell is able to pitch game one on Friday afternoon. He’s only pitched a total of six innings since July 21st. He last pitched on Sunday and was removed after two and one-third innings and 66 pitches. Charlie Morton pitched for the Rays in the AL wild-card game, so we could be looking at Tyler Glasnow getting the start for game one at Minute Maid Park, but it is still to be announced.
Both teams have quality rotations when healthy, but that is the keyword when looking at both teams, health. The Astros have been healthy all season, and the Rays have been hampered by injuries. When you’re facing a three-headed monster in Verlander, Cole and Zack Greinke, to start a series, you need all the advantages you can get opposing them, and the Rays have a lot of question marks going into the first round Friday.