Houston Astros: Two keys to the second half of the MLB season

A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros stand with a healthy 57-33 record at the moment. But here are two things they will need to focus greatly on in the second half.

For the first time in franchise history, the Houston Astros had four players starting in the All-Star Game at their respective positions. They include the following guys:

  1. Justin Verlander (SP for the AL)
  2. George Springer (RF)
  3. Michael Brantley (LF)
  4. Alex Bregman (3B)

Brantley, for his part, got a warm and welcoming reception from his former hometown in Cleveland on Tuesday night. It was his first return to Progressive Field since being acquired by Houston in the offseason. The Houston Astros are set to go back to play against the Indians in the second half.

Speaking of which, Thursday will begin the second half of the season in Arlington against the Texas Rangers. Unlike the past two seasons, the in-state rivals aren’t coming into this contest as a pushover. Despite the lead the Houston Astros have over them, and in the division overall, the team and organization cannot very well get complacent.

Thankfully, there are a couple of things they can do before the trade deadline to put themselves in an even better position than they are now.

1. Two Princes

The thing that Houston Astros fans will be anticipating the most is the returns of both Aledmys Diaz and Carlos Correa. While both are expected to be back soon, neither has begun a rehab assignment yet. Hopefully, one should be scheduled for either or both soon enough.

Then the question begins to be asked; who loses playing time? First, Myles Straw would be sent down since he still has minor league options. The other two players in the hot seat would be Tony Kemp and Tyler White. Although to be fair, both have been stepping up as best as humanly possible on both sides of the ball.

It will be interesting to see how this particular element develops.

2. Start Me Up!

Another second-half need is for another starting pitcher. It’s no secret that the bullpen has been

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taxed as of late. Anyone not named Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole or Wade Miley are the biggest roles of the dice that the team has been undertaking in recent games. This will certainly need to change.

Our own site expert, Brian Patterson mentioned just yesterday about the team eyeing Trevor Bauer. Frankly, that would make things in the clubhouse a bit awkward with the feud he and Alex Bregman have. Nevertheless, it gives the rotation more flexibility.

Other names of trade targets have included Detroit’s Matthew Boyd and Toronto’s Marcus Stroman. Personally, I prefer the latter given the differing stats on them. But like with all personnel decisions, we will all need to defer to our fearless leader, Jeff Luhnow, GM and baseball operations president.

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Regardless of what happens, the Houston Astros will be sure to put themselves in a good position to take it back. Let the second half begin!