Reason #3: What’s at stake for the future
All season long, the reason the Astros have been successful was because of their offense and because of the pitching. But after this season, the chances are we might never see a team like this again. Now that doesn’t mean we won’t be in a position to contend for another championship for the next few years. But what this means is the Astros will be dealing with the free agency period soon and the biggest one to name is Gerrit Cole.
Cole has turned into the Mike Scott of this season. The difference is regardless of all that he
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has done, he might finish second to Justin Verlander in the Cy Young Award voting. But it has been Cole and not Verlander that’s been the best player in the postseason to date. This is not only good for the Astros team, but it’s also good for his value as a free agent.
Chances are, regardless of the result, Cole might not be returning to the Astros after this season. Owner Jim Crane has said that while they would like to make a run at Cole in the offseason, they would much prefer to stay below baseball’s luxury tax. For a guy that led the American League in ERA and struck out a franchise-record 326 batters all season long, this is a sign that Cole might be pitching in one, maybe two more games with the Astros before he is seen in another uniform.
Because the Astros have extended Verlander, Bregman, and Altuve along with trading for Zach Greinke, the Astros will have at least six players making over $12 million in 2020. Other players like George Springer and Carlos Correa could be in line for extensions in the near future, which only hurts Cole’s chances of returning to the Astros. Given the options that are out there, it wouldn’t surprise me if Cole is still in the AL West as an Angel because he’s a southern California guy.
But it would be nice for Cole to at least end his Astros tenure on the right note with a World Series ring. We can only hope and expect that he continues to pitch like he does and holds down the Nationals in this series.
One final thought
While the Nationals are not as strong of a team as the Dodgers were, they can pose a problem for
the Astros. Sure, it’s easy to look at the Nationals and say that while they did sweep the Cardinals, the Cardinals were not the Astros, who went through two grueling series against the Rays and Yankees. Yet, that’s underestimating the Nationals and we don’t want to do that because we’re used to being underestimated.
This series will for sure be a dogfight. But what World Series isn’t seen as a dogfight before it starts? The Astros will have to benefit and capitalize on their home-field advantage once again. They let it slip away in the ALCS and had to take it back. Now, the Astros will look to recapture the glory they experienced in 2017 and more.
I am excited about the World Series. But I am also nervous. We worked so hard to get here and now, we are seen as the favorites, which can be scary because of the team we’re facing. I can only hope the Astros win the World Series at home in Game 6 or 7. But I wouldn’t mind the series to end in our nation’s capital as well. We’ll just have to wait and see on Tuesday night.
Until then, let’s go Astros.