As the Houston Astros headed into this West Coast road trip against the likes of the Giants, Dodgers, and Mariners, true Houston fans began to view this as the ultimate measuring stick. We’re facing the team with the best record in baseball. We’re also facing the team with the most star power in the game. And we’re also facing a divisional rival who’s firm not only in the wild card chase but in the divisional race as well.
So, it’s pretty safe to say that this is an important road trip for us. Not to mention the trade deadline is approaching quickly this Friday at three o’ cock ET.
At 63-40, do the Astros really have any flaws?
When you look at this team, you don’t necessarily see many holes. The offense leads not only the American League in almost all important offensive categories but the majors as well. Key stats like batting average and run differential have been led by the Astros for most if not all season. And the starting staff is right there with them in regards to being up there in the AL is not only ERA but total innings pitched. The bullpen, however, is where you see the problems.
The bullpen blues
Yes, Ryan Pressley paired with solid eight-inning man Ryan Stanek has not only been a deadly combination but a problem as well for many teams to face all year. But they need more help. Just look at the first game of the Mariners series. We had a 7-0 lead in the fifth just to eventually lose 11-8 on a game-clinching grand slam in the bottom of the eighth.
Now, from that moment on, James Click has added three arms to the bullpen in Kendall Graveman, Rafael Montero, and Yimi Garcia. Plus with the eventual returns of Pedro Baez and Josh James, we could very well be seeing the bullpen turn into a potential strength. So, are the Astros done?
Click’s still working the phones
In recent interviews after the transactions, Astros GM James Click continued to reiterate improvement. “44 hours more to go.” Personally, this is going to be interesting to see. The offense seems flawless at times as evidence by the 40 hits in the Mariners series.
The bullpen looks addressed by the moves already made plus some returning players. Now, the starting staff might run into some fatigue later due to its youth but you never know. So, maybe acquire an extra pitcher just in case? Other than that, we look as solid as any team in the majors. Come on Friday. And come on October!