Every time the Astros have played the Rangers this season it has been a critical moment of the season.
Let me set the scene today with screen shots from the websites of the teams the Astros are truly racing for the postseason.
Mariners- even after a loss they are looking forward with confidence.
Rangers- they are celebrating a huge game winning home run.
Blue Jays- they are feeling like they are starting to click.
How are our Astros and this fan base feeling on Labor Day after getting swept at home by the Yankees who played several prospects throwing in the towel?
Here is the Astros.com Website this morning.
The fans are doing even worse.
I asked you all your thoughts with this post on X/ Twitter.
Click on the post and you can see even more responses.
These fans describe my feelings too.
I told my wife this morning I feel like a parent
- that has seen their child make poor choices as a pre-teen and teenager
- that kept telling their kid to stay away from that one older kid because he was not good for them
- that has disciplined and yelled at them and tried every parenting trick in the book
- that other parents kept telling me my kid would be just fine and they had so much going for them
- that got a phone call from the hospital that my child (now an adult) had a terrible accident and was in the ER. The nurse tells me that it is not clear if they will make it or not.
That is how I feel about the Astros right now.
The Astros are like the college kid that has a terrible professor who keeps giving them tests that he has not covered at all in class. Yes, the material on the tests is in the book others have written and keep updating but the professor tells the student to keep ignoring the book and just listen to him.
The students that read the book are getting As. The students that never read the book are failing miserably. The Astros student has read a few chapters.
The question now is who the Astros will be for the rest of the season. The Astros have four weeks to pass or fail the test of the 2023 season and to set themselves up for success once in the MLB postseason. Will the team follow the blueprint of their previous championships and play with heart and tenacity that shows they truly care and WANT a World Series championship in 2023? Will the team continue to act like there is plenty of time to turn things on and throw games away as they have seemed to do all season?
There are four weeks left of the 2023 MLB regular season. Will your Astros pass or fail the test?
Where do the Astros stand today?
Despite all of the challenges (or alternately because of all of the challenges) the Astros sit in the second wild card spot tied with the Rangers and both are only one game behind the Mariners.
Both are 1.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays who are probably the only credible threat in the AL to unseat one of the current Wild Card teams. The Astros are likely to win 89-91 games this season.
It is not the season many fans expected, and it is falling far short of the two previous seasons. (see graph to the right)
Here is how I expect the rest of the series this year. The Astros have a critical series with the Rangers starting today and with the Mariners on 9/25.
Will 89-91 wins even be enough for the Astros to make the postseason?
Let's look at the same season projections for the Blue Jays, Rangers, and Mariners.
All three of these contending teams should do as well or better than the Astros do down the stretch. If these predictions turn out to be what happens what will the AL West and Wildcard race look like.
The Astros would have the tiebreaker over Texas, and they would have the 5-seed and play Tampa Bay in the AL Wild Card round.
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What is the likely best-case scenario?
In this scenario, Houston win the AL West and have the two seed. They would bypass the AL Wild Card round.
What is the likely worst-case scenario?
In this scenario, Houston misses the entire postseason. Toronto has the tiebreaker over the Astros.
I held the other team records the same. The means
If the Astros go 15-9 the rest of the season, the Astros could have the two seed.
If the Astros go 13-11 the rest of the season, the Astros could have the four seed.
If the Astros go 12-12 the rest of the season, the Astros could miss the postseason.
EVERY game counts.
The Astros NEED to listen to the star student who has aced the test before, Alex Bregman.
“We’ve gotta treat every game like it’s must-win. That’s all that matters. Show up, act like it, compete like it, prepare like it. That’s the only thing we’re focused on.”
The critical stretch drive starts now.