Coming into the series with the Rangers, I thought a Rangers sweep or even a Rangers series win would dramatically impact the team's plans. Now that this crisis was averted, hope is running rampant again.
With the Astros taking three of the four games and returning to Minute Maid Park, the Astros have a golden opportunity to put two division foes virtually out of the Wild Card chase in July.
How good could it get in July? Let's take a look.
Here is the Astros schedule right up to the days before the trade deadline- July 30th to be precise. If I put my best guess on how these series are likely to play out:
Mariners- expect a tough battle and I will guess a split.
Angels- Trout is hurt (again), the Angels are reeling. We will give the Astros two of three.
Rockies- on the road, I will assume a split.
Athletics- on the road the Astros should still win three of four.
Rangers- if the Astros can take three of four on the road vs. the Rangers, then let's assume they can take two of three at home.
Rays- let's hope Alvarez is back by 7/28, If so, the Astros take two of three.
The Astros play ALL THREE of the division contenders in July. THIS is the Golden opportunity. They can essentially eliminate the Angels and Mariners from the race and make them less willing to be buyers at the trade deadline. This could be HUGE.
If my projections are right, the Astros go 12-7 in July. They would be 61-45 on 7/30. That sounds good, but what about the other teams in the division?
Here are the same charts for the other division contenders.
On 7/30, Texas would be 60-46. The Angels would be 53-53. Seattle would be 51-54. Yes, on 7/30, I think the Astros COULD be back in the DIVISION lead by a game.
Here is what I think July and the rest of the season could mean for all of the AL Wild card contenders.
The Astros have weathered the worst of June and their series win vs. the Rangers was huge. I think the Astros have a golden opportunity in July to gain ground and even position themselves to win the AL West. June was hard on the Rangers. If July is just as hard, as I suspect it might be, the Astros and Rangers are in for a battle royale until the end of the season.
The AL East teams will have their own battle royale for the AL Wildcard.
I think by the end of July, the Angels, Red Sox, Mariners, and Guardians will realize they are not in contention for the AL Wildcard.
If June was the "the Season on the Brink," then July is "the Golden Opportunity" for the Astros. Let's see if they can make it happen!
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