The Astros enter Monday’s off day with an 85-47 record and a 9.5 game lead in the AL West. They are tied with the New York Yankees for the best record in the AL and they are trailing the L.A. Dodgers by one game for the best record in the majors. The team has held it together during a stretch where they have not had a true day off since August 8th. (Technically they had August 12th off due to a rainout, but that just caused additional use of their bullpen and disruption to their starting rotation with a double header tossed in there).
The Astros have some challenges as they are likely to not see premier set-up man Ryan Pressly until right before the playoffs should they be so fortunate to make them and are hoping to get a fully healthy Carlos Correa, Aledmys Diaz, and Josh James back in short order.
And speaking of so fortunate, the Astro do look very fortunate as they head into what looks like a fairly easy last thirty games of the season. Or perhaps this shows how tough their schedule was before this stretch. Here is what the Astros face (all records are as of Aug. 26th):
- Tampa Bay Rays (76-56) – This is the only team on the Astros schedule where they have a losing record this season having lost three of the first four on the road to start the season. The Rays with fan favorite Charlie Morton have a lot to play for, but the Astros do get this 3 game series at home.
- Oakland A’s (74-55) – The A’s recently set the Astros back winning 3 of 4 in Oakland. This four game series at Minute Maid could be the A’s last hurrah or the A’s long goodbye.
- Milwaukee Brewers (67-63) – This is the Astros only series left on the road against a team that is above .500. The Brewers, who split a two game series at Houston earlier in the season are only 2 games back in the Wild Card race and could be a tough challenge for the Astros.
- Texas Rangers (64-68) – The Astros play two games against the Rangers at home and based on their 11-6 record this season against the Arlington Nine they should be favored in both games.
- Los Angeles Angels (63-70) – The Astros are 9-3 against the Halos this season and play four games on the road to end the season, but also have three games at home just prior to that (seven of last nine games of the season against LAA). The Astros just swept three from the Angels and it could be that the men from Anaheim will be looking at 2020 when they play again.
- Seattle Mariners (56-75) – The M’s 56-75 record is bad enough, but even worse considering they are 43-73 since an unsustainable 13-2 start to the season. The Astros are 12-1 against the Mariners to date and have four home games and 2 road games in September with the team they have shellacked. These are trap games for the team if it loses it focus or easy it pickings if it doesn’t.
- Toronto Blue Jays (53-80) – The Jays are in a bit of a youth movement at the moment and after a fairly catastrophic May and June have been competitive, but a little under .500 in July and August. The Astros took 2 of 3 at home earlier in the season from Toronto and look to do at least that much this time on the road.
- Kansas City Royals (46-85) – The Royals fortunes have certainly dipped since their 2015 Championship. They are not in a rebuild but probably should be. However, they can still rise to the occasion at times – having taken 1 of 3 from the Indians and Red Sox the last times they have played them and having swept a 2 game series from the Braves late in July. Still after taking two of three from the Royals at MMP, the Astros should expect to at least match that at Kauffman Stadium.
Hopefully, the Astros are not looking forward any farther than tomorrow night’s game as they could get a little ahead of themselves. The bottom line is that the opportunity to have the best record in the AL and in MLB is there and if they grind it out they have a great shot at earning it.