What comes next for the Houston Astros?
The bad news is the Astros still have to play the Texas Rangers nine more times this season. The good news is they don’t play them next until almost two months from now. Will the team tail spin after a hurtful 1-3 series against the Rangers where they had a shot in every game? Are they like the alligator armed alligator in the Geico commercials, not quite able to grab winnable games that should be in reach? Or will they do like they did after the Rangers swept them a few weeks ago and go on another 11-2 run to above .500?
Fans are hopeful that the Astros will return to their winning ways now that the Rangers are behind them for the time being. There were a lot of positives during that 11-2 run, but how much of that can be sustained?
- George Springer has already cooled down a bit from his initial hot start in the lead-off spot.
- As many have pointed out, the Astros have not much to fall back on when the Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa triumvirate are having an off day.
- Evan Gattis has also cooled off from the HR run he was on after coming back from the minors as the back-up catcher. The flu seems to have slowed down a little hot run Jason Castro had going. Colby Rasmus, Tyler White, Luis Valbuena and Jake Marisnick have not brought much to the table lately. Is the spark going to come from one of them turning things around? Or from some source in the minors?
- Only Doug Fister (of all starters) has given consistent outings from the starting rotation lately. Dallas Keuchel has shown flashes of 2015 mixed in with flashes of 2013. Collin McHugh and Mike Fiers seem to vacillate from giving up runs early in the game to giving up leads later in the game. Lance McCullers is just now rounding into shape and has pitched decently, but not deeply into games.
- The bullpen has been over-worked and it has been the ability of Michael Feliz, Chris Devenski and Scott Feldman to go multiple innings that has kept the overall ‘pen from crashing and burning from over-use. The bullpen has also been the key to the Astros winning five straight extra inning games as they have stubbornly held onto leads (sometime leads one of their members gave up in regulation).
- Is the very impressive Will Harris now the closer after two straight saves? Can the team get the lead to him if he is?
So where do you think the Astros are headed now? Will they get back up off the mat or go down for the count?