Today we will hit on a couple topics and see where it leads.
By this time next week, we should know…
Today the Astros have a seven-game lead in the AL West Division over the Oakland A’s, which ties for the largest lead they have had on the season. The Seattle Mariners are lurking behind the A’s at 8 games back. The Astros will play 3 more games with the Angels in Anaheim and then 3 against the A’s in Oakland before a day off next Monday.
If the Astros can hold that seven-game lead until Monday, they will have clinched the West. Of course, going head to head with the A’s allows them to chew into that lead. And also, what is giving the A’s a bit extra hope is that if they can slice into the lead a bit, the Astros finish the season at home with three against the excellent Tampa Bay Rays and three more against the hopeful A’s.
So by this time next week, we should know that the Astros are in or…..we should know to start sweating.
To rest or not to rest…..
The Astros roster this season indeed does not contain a Ripkenish iron man. In a supreme piece of irony, it appears they may be led in games played by one of their previously most fragile players, Carlos Correa, who could max out with 150 games played. Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez should all finish in the 140s someplace with injuries knocking Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman even farther down the way.
Dusty Baker has driven the fans to distraction by giving players days off consistently throughout the season, no matter the situation. Was the team slumping and needed a spark? Too bad. Was the player on fire coming off a game with hits and RBIs galore? Sit down, young man. Did they just have or were about to have a day off as a team? Take a two-day vacay, Mr. Millionaire.
But frankly, it has not hurt the team substantively and may have done more good than harm in the end. The players are going from a weird as all get out 2020 with 60 games total to an entire season. Giving them rests may keep the increase to 162 games from hurting them or leaving them gassed. The team has shown the most depth in a long time with varying good performances from Aledmys Diaz, Abraham Toro, Chas McCormick, Jake Meyers, Jose Siri, and even Marwin Gonzalez. Giving the bench more playing time has helped strengthen them and provided the fans with confidence in a reasonably long stream of options.
I know we would like to have seen every top hand on deck for every game, but if the team is rested and solid heading into the playoffs AND….plays like it, all will be forgiven.