It turns out that rumors of the lack of an interesting post-season race have been greatly exaggerated. The Astros and Rangers started the week in a tight contest for the AL West crown. The Astros , Twins, and Angels are all in playing for the final AL West wild card spot. The Astros are now 4.5 games behind the Rangers for the AL West crown. They played a series against the Angels this past week.
Angels vs. Astros (9/21): Keuchel recovered from his pasting by the Angels to give the Astros 7 2/3rd innings with six hits, one run, a walk, and six strikeouts. The Angels’ Weaver went 5 2/3rd allowing 9 hits, 5 runs, two walks and striking out five. Jose Altuve went 3-4 with a double and a triple. The Astros will need more games like this to secure the AL Wild Card.
Final Score: Astros 6, Angels 3
Standings Result: Houston is 3.5 games ahead of the Angels for the final Wild Card spot in the AL. Houston stays within one game of Texas for the AL West pennant. Minnesota is three games behind the Astros for the final Wild Card spot.
Angels vs. Astros (9/22): This game was lost by the Astros in the first inning. McCullers went 7 innings allowing only four hits, striking out nine, and not allowing a walk but he allowed three runs in the first inning. That was the difference maker in this game. The offense didn’t have enough pop to overcome that early three run deficit-though they did get close. The Angels’ Santiago went 5 innings. He allowed four hits, two runs, five walks, and had four strikeouts to get the win. This is why pitcher wins is a dumb stat. McCullers had a fine game but his offense didn’t come through for him. He can’t score the runs himself. He needs help from the offense. It’s not like he is Madison Bumgarner!
Final Score: Angels 4, Astros 3
Standings Result: Angels move with 2.5 games of the Astros for the final Wild Card spot. Astros fall behind the Rangers by two games for the AL West pennant. Minnesota is two games behind the Astros for the final Wild Card spot.
Angels vs. Astros (9/23): This was a game where the Astros bullpen collapsed like a poorly constructed chair. The bullpen gave up three runs in the 8th inning to cough up this game and put their post-season hopes on pretty rocky ground. The Angels used eight pitchers and the Astros used six pitchers. This is the reality of the game in September. Rosters expand and most of those expansions are to their bullpen. Tropeano went only 4 1/3rd innings while giving up only 4 hits and striking out 5. The Astros’ Fiers went 6 2/3rd innings while giving up 4 hits, allowing 4 walks, and striking out 3. The real story of the game were two managerial decisions. The first was to intentionally walk the Astros Jose Altuve, a move that would ultimately allow him to score and put the Astros ahead. It was not to last though. Harris would allow 2 runs in 1/3rd of the eighth inning to put the Angels ahead for this game.
Final Score: Angels 6, Astros 5
Standings Result: Angels move to within 1.5 games of the Astros for the final Wild Card spot. Houston falls to three games behind the Rangers for the AL West pennant. They are only 1 game up on the Twins for the final Wild Card slot.
The Astros have eight more games remaining on the schedule, including the rest of a three game series against the Rangers. They are currently not moving in the right direction. The Astros are now only ½ game ahead of the Angels for the final Wild Card spot.