The Astros have played very good ball up to now in the 2018 season. There have been some ups and downs, bumps here and there, some injuries (Carlos Correa and Brian McCann) and even a few personnel “situations” (Ken Giles). But the Astros are still on pace to win more games than they have ever won in any regular season. However, the next five weeks look especially tough and should give the Astros a true test of where they may be headed this season.
Since June 7 the Astros have been fed a steady diet of mostly teams they were expected to handle. They put up a strong 28-11 record in that time at the expense of teams like the Royals, Tigers, Rangers, Blue Jays and White Sox. But the next five weeks will be a tougher test for the team. Last season, the Astros swooned a bit during the month of August, but they had such a huge lead in the division it did not matter. This season a similar swoon could easily threaten their current five-game lead in the AL West.
The Astros will play 33 games (19 road and 14 home) between now and August 31. The opponents will be:
- Rockies (53-46) – 2 Road + 2 Home
- Rangers (42-59) – 3 Home
- Mariners (60-40) – 6 Road + 4 Home
- Dodgers (56-44) – 3 Road
- Giants (51-50) – 2 Road
- A’s (58-43) – 3 Road + 3 Home
- Angels (50-51) – 3 Road + 2 Home
The only bad team in the bunch is the Rangers, who sometimes ignore the fact they are bad when playing the Astros. The 10 games against the Mariner and the 6 games against the A’s (about 1/2 of the total 33 games in this time period) may have the greatest influence on whether the Astros moonwalk to the AL West title or are in a death match to the end of the season. The M’s are the best team the Astros will play, while the A’s are one of the hottest and the Dodgers have been on a steady rise since a slow start to the season.
Playing more games on the road than at home would be a challenge to most teams, but just like in 2017, the 2018 Astros are huge Road Warriors. Their home record of 32-21 is very good and on a pace for the equivalent of 98 wins. Their road record is a phenomenal 34-15 which is on a pace for 112 wins.
So…. here are your questions for today:
- What will the Astros record be during these 33 games?
- How many of the 10 games will they win against the M’s? How many of the 6 games will they win against the A’s?
- How far ahead will they be in their division on August 31 (if any)?
- How big a lead do they need at the end of August to coast to the end of the season?