The Houston Astros have been plowing through the Oakland A’s with their three-game set that started Monday and Ken Giles was asked to close for the first time since his implosion against the Yankees May 1. How did he do?
The Houston Astros offense is back! Monday night’s explosion of offense was certainly evidence that these guys still have it in them but we haven’t seen the overpowering aspects of these fellas as opposed to the 2017 season.
It’s almost impossible to duplicate last year’s success because this team was so unique but it’s slightly puzzling because most of the band has been brought back to try to compete for a back-to-back World Series championship.
The race in the division is a lot tighter this season, with the Houston Astros currently holding a half-game lead in the AL West. At 23-15, the Los Angeles Angels are knocking on our back door at 21-14, while the Seattle Mariners are just one game back at 20-14. The A’s, the Houston Astros current opponent, are holding at 18-18 which is a lot better then where I had pegged them for the season.
And then there’s the lowly Arlington Rangers, sitting at the back of bus with a 14-24 record. After
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all the hype with our presumptive division-interstate rival, it looks like it will be another down season for them. Good!
So that’s the picture for the AL West right now at the moment but let’s talk about what Ken Giles did last night against the A’s.
Once again, A.J. Hinch trusted him to close out last’s game to get those final three outs at the bottom of the ninth inning. The Houston Astros were already leading 4-2 with no guys on base so it wasn’t necessarily a pressure situation but with the way Giles’ had been pitching as of late, it could be as a solid situation could turn into a bad one quickly.
He stuck to his guns — striking out Matt Olson with at 97 mph fastball on his 6th pitch, he then allowed a single on line drive to left field, to which Marwin Gonzalez was manning last night but he quickly was able to recover by forcing Chad Pinder to ground into a double play, with Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel all working together to throw Chapman out at 2nd and to get Pinder out at 1st.
It was a rather uneventful outing for Giles and he notches his 4th save of the season. Although he’s well-under his pace of 34 saves last season, it goes to show that hopefully this guy is back on the mend.
I still think the Houston Astros will be buyers at the trade deadline, shopping for a closer because I do believe that has been the weakest link thus far. I still think Giles has value but he might need to be a guy to help set things up instead of being the one to close things out. We’ll see.
The Houston Astros take on the A’s in their final game of the set in Oakland before returning home to face the Rangers for the weekend. First pitch is at 2:35 p.m. CDT and flame-thrower Gerrit Cole will be on the mound. It’ll be a good one!