As for the Angels, they now lead the second Wild Card by a half-game over the Astros and are just 1.5 up on the Twins.
The remaining seven games all take place at Globe Life Stadium and the two challengers are the Detroit Tigers followed by those Angels from Southern California.
The Blue Jays wrapped up the AL East for the first time since 1993 with a 15-2 win at Baltimore in the first game of a doubleheader.
If the Twinkies are able to win three of their next four games (one against he Indians a three game set with the Royals) they would host the Astros in a Wild Card tiebreaker game. Until then, the pressure will be similar to what it has been during a 37-19 drive to the postseason. Considering the circumstances and the importance of the game, the Astros lost in crushing fashion.
The Rangers will have to fend off the hot Angels in order to win the American League West. This is a young Astros team without much playoff experience in a spot that most of the players have never experienced before at the big league level. “We embrace that challenge”. Well the Rangers inexplicably stubbed their toes last night with 17-game victor Colby Lewis on the mound. It’s possible they’ll be trying to grab home-field advantage in the AL Wild Card Game (if the weather holds up this weekend).
Whichever team they play, the Cubbies will be in tremendous shape because Jake Arrieta and his insane 1.82 ERA will be waiting. The Astros have won 22 of his 32 starts, but his home-road splits are worrisome. Winning in front of your home fans is always key, but the issue is playing on the road.
The Yanks’ magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 2 rather than 3, due to the same scenario that allowed Toronto to clinch a day earlier than previously thought: if the Astros and Angels both win out to go 88-74, that also means four more losses for Texas (vs. Los Angeles), making them 87-75.
I have no idea whether any of this has a tangible on-field benefit for the Yankees, I just know it seems like they’re be better off facing a team that has to battle right down to Game 162 to make the wildcard game.
Because the Astros won’t have the designated hitter in a National League park, Hinch will have to decide how to use his DH, Evan Gattis.
Justin Verlander may no longer be a true ace, but in the tightest spots he pitched like one last night. That bunch-up will cause plenty of scoreboard-watching and tense times over this final week of the season. If they’ve clinched it by Sunday, move them way back up this list, because they’ll be resting everyone. We got a good group of guys.
If the experts were predicting another season out of contention, that was on them. “We’ve had a few streaks that have been less than our best and we’ve come out of it very well each time. We’ll see what happens”.
Will the Astros be celebrating this weekend? If Houston beats Minnesota, it would get to host the Angels for the right to go play the Yankees.
The Houston Astros have gone 11-16 since August 31st, squandering an 8-game lead over the Angels and a 4-game lead over the Rangers. But that doesn’t matter, either. But it is not all about me, and that’s the way I chose to look at these things.
Speaking of Rose, the all-time hits leader has met with Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, asking him to lift his lifetime ban.