3 Reasons: Good and Bad for the Astros post Arlington
This week’s series against the Rangers hasn’t looked pretty for the Astros. To use a more applicable word one could call it: grueling, embarrassing, disheartening, or just plain sad. Those fair weather Astro fans have thrown in the towel and the few die-hards are holding on to what mainstream media considers smoke and mirrors. Here are three reasons to despair and three reasons to keep the faith in the team that has held first place in the West for the majority of the season.
Reasons to Despair
1. Dallas Keuchel got shelled.
Riding a 60 game streak of pitching 6 innings or more, Keuchel gave up 9 runs, a career high, in last night’s shellacking. Yes, the Astros had lost first place, but a win by their ace could retake the crown and set up the possibility for a split on Thursday. Wednesday may very well have been the “worse case scenario”.
2. The offense went silent (again)
Collin McHugh struggled early, surrendering 5 runs in the first inning on Tuesday. To their credit, the offense would punch back in the next inning and eventually square the game up at 5-5. Houston bats have largely sat by and watch opposing teams score runs over the past month. After being in the top five in baseball in runs scored prior to the break, Houston ranks 24th in the majors in runs scored since. It’s been a rough go lately.
3. Three more games with the Rangers
Texas locked up the silver boot this week, secured home field in the event of a wildcard playoff between these two teams, and to make matters worse – come to Houston for 3 more games before the regular season is through. If there is one team the Astros need to avoid, its the boys from Arlington.
Reasons to Believe
1. 1 1/2 games back is not 10 games back
The Astros may be in second place, but the margin is not insurmountable. 16 games remain. If the Astros and Rangers were to both play .500 ball from here out, a series win in Houston against Texas could just push the Astros into first place at the end of the season.
2. 9 of the last 16 games are at home
Houston has the worst road record in the majors : 29-45. Conversely, Houston boasts the best home record in baseball: 48-24. Coming off a rough road trip and getting back to Minute Maid might be enough to help this young team’s psyche.
3. Talent wins out
The Astros have been criticized for being young and inexperienced, but at the end of the day the best players tend to win games. Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel, and George Springer all have All-Star caliber talent. They might have had a rough week, but in the final three weeks of the season these four can catch on fire. And if the first three men up from Houston can get some runs on the board early, this team can win some ball games.