Today we will hit on a couple topics and see where it leads.
The short season of 2020 was an offensive hole for the Astros as they dipped down from a top team to a middle of the road team in one partial season. In 2021 they have had many bounce-back seasons from their team, but one area that has really made a difference for them has had a productive bench.
The Astros won another series over the weekend. Like many other series wins, it included the satisfying and the unsatisfying. Still, the Astros entered Monday with 20 games left on the schedule and a 6-1/2 game lead over not one but two division rivals.
Baseball will return another day to this blog. It is, of course, a constant in our lives, but some days it is better to look elsewhere for at least a few moments.
As long as the Astros don’t have any rainouts along the way, they will play 17 straight days starting Friday night against the Angels at Minute Maid. Most of those games are in a controlled atmosphere here in Houston or in the lawnmower shed in Arlington. Outdoors they play four games in Anaheim (it never rains in Southern California) and three games in Oakland (it pours) right before their next and only day off down the stretch.
When the Astros walk off the field after the last game of this road trip from Heck (not as bad as Hell, but not as good as Heaven), they will be exactly 4 weeks and 26 games from the end of the season. They have been a team stuck in neutral for the last two months. Since July 7, they have been a very so-so 25-23. Not bad enough to lose their lead in the AL West and not good enough to put the A’s and Mariners out of reach in the rearview mirror.
On the plus side, the Astros had their fifth consecutive winning month in August. On the minus side, they were barely above .500 at 14-13, which seemed to match the eyeball test of a team idling in neutral.
The Astros have ranged from being a good to an excellent team between 2015 and 2021. You would not think that the word rebuild would be used in the same sentence as the word Astros, for a team that won a championship in the last four seasons, appeared in two World Series and appeared in four AL Championship Series.