With rosters expanding, the Astros add reinforcements, possibly boosting their win total.
Sept. 1 means we’re headed down the home stretch of the regular season and all signs are pointing to an AL West title for the Houston Astros despite a 4-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners late last night on an Abraham Toro grand slam.
The Astros still lead the division by five games over the A’s and 7.5 over the Mariners and Fangraphs.com has calculated a 95.8% chance of the Astros winning the AL West. In the first version of the projected win totals I included details about how I get to these numbers, so check it out if you’re interested in the details.
My projection was created because I thought the Pythagorean win expectancy (currently 101) was too high and the FanGraphs projection (currently 95) was too low, so in that respect it worked out pretty well, coming in at 99 (actually 98.6).
As I pointed out last month, I find comfort in numbers, especially after games like last night’s and in the midst of the roller coaster of a 162 game Major League season schedule. I find using a method backtested over five seasons a way to avoid becoming a prisoner of the moment, especially when a player you traded away hits a game winning grand slam off the pitcher you traded him for.
Ninety-Nine wins probably seems like a stretch to most reading this and admittedly the emotional side of me finds it difficult to see the Astros going 21-9 over the rest of the season.
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That said, if the Astros just play the .592 ball they’ve played through the first 132 games that would come out to 95 wins. With 95 as the starting point, it’s not difficult to see a game or two of improvement as key pieces like Bregman, Urquidy and McCormick return to playing shape.
In the last iteration of this subject, I suggested that perhaps aspirations of 100 wins and the best record in the American League died a slow death in Kansas City in mid-August and as September dawns that could very well end up being the case.
The Astros trail the Rays by six games for the best record and while 100 wins is still obtainable, it’s going to take a solid month of being healthy, which has been elusive all season, and a sustained win streak or at least a 9-1 type stretch.
It can be done, but with each passing game and missed opportunity the odds get smaller as the reduction in the expected wins from 101 on Aug. 1 to 99 today shows.