Now that the Houston Astros have clinched the AL West for the third straight year, there are still three things they need to chase in the final week.
Champagne was pouring in the Houston Astros locker room as they won a third straight division title. Nevertheless, work still needs to be done for the team to have a truly record-breaking year. Here are just a couple of things:
In the midst of what is sure to be an astonishing year for the Houston Astros, Alex Bregman is the biggest standout on offense. When looking at his current stats for 2019, a few things really jump out at you.
- BA – .293
- OPS – 1.004
- Year WAR – 7.8
For context, Bregman has a WAR that is just 0.5 shy of Mike Trout. At the same time, Trout being out for the rest of the season places Bregman at a bit of an advantage with overall batting average and RBI on the 2019 season. Talk about a record-breaking year, am I right?
Given all of this, I would not sleep on Bregman making a truly legitimate case for the American League MVP this time around. Frankly, it doesn’t look like our all-star third baseman will be slowing down anytime soon. Even with the playoffs looming, he will certainly be an ex-factor.
2. Cy Verlander
Another component of this record incredible year for the Houston Astros is their ace, Justin Verlander. In yesterday’s 13-5 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Angels, JV managed to fan out five batters and only walked two. He is already looking in postseason form.
The only really troubling thing was Verlander giving up six hits. Regardless, he and teammate Gerrit Cole lead the American League or are in the top four, in every major pitching category. With the final week of the season in full swing, the Cy Young Award for the AL is as good as for either one of them.
3. Seattle Sweep
The icing on the cake for this jaw-dropping year for the Astros is for them to lock up the
home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs. As of this writing, they have a half-game advantage over the New York Yankees, who have just as many wins but one more loss than the Astros. So if the season ended today, all AL teams would have to come through Minute Maid Park.
Additionally, the Astros are two wins away from tying their franchise record of wins from last season in 2018, and three away from breaking it. Should the team be fortunate enough to sweep these next two games at Safeco Field against the Seattle Mariners, they can guarantee a tie of that record, and would only need to win one of the last four in Anaheim against the Angels to break it.
Division opponents always play each other the hardest, so this won’t be an easy feat. However, it is still very much doable. And with the recent injury bug to bite the Yankees, the home field advantage thing is completely out of their grasp, either.
All in all, this 2019 season for the Astros will go down in the books as a notable year from many fronts.