Astros Hang On to Wild Card After Faltering in September
After an absence of nine years, the Houston Astros are back in the post-season playoffs as the second wild card in the American League. The Astros spent 139 days on top of the AL West division in the first five months of the season but they were unable to carry it through into September where they compiled a record of 11-16 while the Texas Rangers finished strong by going 18-10 in the month and winning the Division by 2 games over the Astros. However, the Astros recovered to win 2 out of 3 games in Arizona in October to hold off the surging Los Angeles Angels.
Modest improvement was expected from the 70-92 record in 2014 but nothing like the 86-76 record the team achieved. Performance improved in virtually all aspects, especially in the bullpen until it began breaking down in September. The starting pitching also improved along with the offense and defense. The players that achieved breakout seasons in 2014 (Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh) continued performing at a high level and were joined by Rookies, Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers and a rapidly developing George Springer.
Off season acquisitions of relief pitchers and role players to fill some holes, worked out reasonably well but the deadline deals in July have not worked out as expected.
I plan to write a comprehensive analysis of the team’s remarkable season later this month after I return home from the hospital.