The Astros are Playoff Ready.
With one more game to go in the regular season, the Astros are cruising into the playoffs, resting veterans, trying out fresh faces, and compiling an 8-2 record in their last ten games. Or 21-5 in September, or 26-8 since August 21st. In September they have a +53 run differential.
Lots of good news coming out of today’s doubleheader in Baltimore. After getting some hitting instruction in the dugout in front of the TV cameras, Carlos Correa seemingly exploded out of his prolonged hitting slump with an oppo home run and then an oppo double in game one today.
Just before Correa’s homer, George Springer ended his own power drought with a blast of his own.
In game one Justin Verlander threw six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts, looking as dominant as he did at the beginning of the season...and the end of the last one. Post season that is.
In the second game today Lance McCullers made his second appearance since returning from the DL, and left no doubt that he and his curve ball are indeed playoff ready. He inherited a bases loaded one out situation, and although he allowed one run to score on a wild pitch, he retired the two hitters he faced, striking out the first one, and served notice that if he feels like throwing 24 straight curve balls again in the playoffs, he will.
The rookie speedster, Myles Straw, supposed light-hitting base stealing expert, hit his first career home run, almost 400 feet to enter field. Here it is.
And the Future, (but not the present) Kyle Tucker, hit a double, and was even seen smiling afterwards. Well Ted, maybe you’ll even tip your hat someday.
He made an amazing catch too.
And Jake Marisnick, who won last night’s game with a walk-off catch in center field, hit a three run home run to Wen, our favorite fan, who goes to every Astros game in every city apparently, wearing his crazy polyester Astros rainbow suit in every enemy city. He’s been on TV taking batting practice in that suit, with Julia Morales on TV in that suit, and tonight he caught the Jake bomb in that suit. That suit belongs in the Astros Hall of Fame.
Here he is with Julia in Toronto, but you can’t really see his suit.
So to quickly recap the second game tonight, Myles Straw hit a solo home run in the first, Jake Marisnick walked with the bases loaded to add a run in the fourth, TV announcer Geoff Blum blurted out “McCannonball” in the sixth, and then Jake added the last Astros runs with his two run homer in the eighth.
The O’s scored one run off Dallas Keuchel in the second, who looked pretty shaky again, allowing five hits and a walk in three innings. They scored their other run on the wild pitch by McCullers in the sixth, but the run was charged to Framber Valdez, who reverted to his wild ways, allowing three walks in 2.1 innings.
Three other Astros relievers, Brad Peacock, Chris Devenski, and The King, Ryan Pressly, threw scoreless single innings. After the King had left the mound he had recorded his second save of the year.
Tomorrow the Astros finish the regular season with Charlie Morton on the mound, another test of playoff readiness, as Morton will test his arm, which was shaky in his last start. Game time 2:05 CDT.
Last day of the season is a sad day for most fans, but here in Houston it just means a new and more exciting beginning.
Box score and videos here.