The Houston Astros, a team that became a Major League Baseball franchise way back in 1962 with The New York Mets, has never been able to match the success of the east coast team.
It was believed that the Astros would find stiffer competition in the junior circuit and would lose even more games than they had in previous years. But, that is not what has happened.
Years of very poor play led to high draft picks. The team’s front office put those high draft picks to good use, acquiring several very good position players and pitchers. The influx of good, young talent has transformed this team into a winner. In fact, Houston finished the first half of the season with a win-loss record of 50-42.
Their opponent this past weekend was in-state rival, the Texas Rangers. This squad finished the first half with a won-loss record of 42-47, leaving it much room for improvement.
The three game weekend series was played in Houston where the home team has an imposing 29-16 record over its first 45 games. Interestingly, the Texas Rangers road record was 26-21 going into Friday’s game.
The home team prevailed in a close, hard-fought contest. The Astros scored a run in the second inning, two more runs in the third inning and held off the visiting Texans when that team plated single runs in the sixth and eighth innings. The final score was Houston 3 – Texas 2.
Graphic via lockerroomfantasysports
Game Two was played the next day and turned out to be an entertaining and exciting slugfest. The Texans hit three home runs, including one by former superstar Josh Hamilton. Houston countered by belting two home runs, including one off the bat of top rookie Carlos Correa, but fell just short, losing to the visitors by a score of 7-6.
With the series tied at one game each, the Sunday game figured to be hotly contested. After all, state supremacy and bragging rights are always at stake.
Houston gave the ball to its young ace and American League All Star Game Starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel. And he delivered – in a big, big way. The game’s outcome was decided early as the home team scored early and often off of Texas starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo. The final score was 10-0, a rout.
Graphic via calltothepen
However, what made this game interesting is that Keuchel struck out thirteen Texans, a career high for him. He also held them scoreless for seven innings. It was, by any standard, a masterful performance and it enabled the Astros to win the weekend series by two games to one.
Watch this young Astros team play and it becomes immediately obvious that it is a serious contender for postseason play. The sky is now blue in southern Texas and the future is bright – very bright.
Graphic via cbssports