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Roy Oswalt Vanquishes the Pirates and the Astros Clinch A Winning Season

While I should be overly joyed at the prospects at the Astros clinching their winning season, it feels flat given the prospects of them playing October baseball one week ago was so strong. Roy was dominate on the mound, allowing four hits, striking out four, and walking none through six innings of work. A vast improvement over his last outing to say the least. While the Astros still remain alive, mathematically, in the NL Wild Card Race, perfection and collapse from their rivals will be necessary to see October. With an elimination number of 4 and a week's worth of action remaining, the prospects are daunting.

Nevertheless, the Astros made our season interesting for the first two weeks of September and have managed to keep themselves relevant into the final week -- something I thought could only happen in the best of circumstances in March. It's hard to call their season a failure, but they vastly underperformed for a significant part of the season, making calling it a success hard too.

While not necessarily putting a the final nail in the 2008 season just yet, the Astros off-season plans become very relevant in light of their customary late season surge. A repeat of the 2006-2007 off-season has to be avoided. However, Ben Sheets' fore arm tightness leaves a huge hole in the FA pitching market -- presumably. In the coming weeks and months, look for detailed talent and risk evaluations of our targeted acquisitions, starting with Sheets and moving through the rumor pool. If we don't have October baseball to watch, Astros fans can console themselves with religious checking Peter Gammons' blog and my favorite aggregator of all things rumored, MLBTradeRumors.

Congratulations Astros, you did what very few thought possible for a majority of the off season and season. Lets pray to the baseball gods for Astros dominance and Brewer and Met misfortune, but lets also hope the Ed Wade makes some very wise moves this off season too.

National League Wild Card Standings

New York 86 69 .554 0 Lost 2
Milwaukee 85 71 .544 1.5 Won 1
Houston 82 73 .529 4 Won 1
Florida 81 73 .525 4.5 Lost 1
St. Louis 80 75 .516 6 Lost 2

(updated 9.21.2008 at 6:06 PM CDT)