AL West leader
Overall record (through Sunday): 83-53
Last week: 4-2
This week: At Seattle Mariners (Mon.-Wed.); off Thursday; at Oakland Athletics (Fri.-Sun., includes doubleheader Saturday from April 16 rainout)
Houston began last week not knowing where it would play during the week. The Astros ultimately played the Rangers in Tampa Bay before returning home for an emotional sweep of the Mets.
It was great for the city of Houston and its residents for the team to be able to play a few games in town over the weekend. (Friday’s game was postponed and made into a doubleheader Saturday.) However, it was also great for the team to be able to return home for several reasons.
The biggest baseball-related reason the return is helpful is because the Astros next nine games come on the road. The next scheduled game in Houston doesn’t come until Sept. 15 against Seattle.
The Astros also made the big trade they failed to make late in August in landing Verlander. The former Detroit ace landed with Houston at the end of August and is scheduled to make his Astros debut on Tuesday.
With the additions of Verlander and outfielder Cameron Maybin, Houston will likely have little problem finishing as one of the top two teams in the American League—thus securing home-field advantage in the Division Series. However, the question remains whether Houston can hold off Cleveland for the AL’s top overall spot.
But given everything that has transpired in Houston (and its surrounding areas) recently, that’s a small—borderline insignificant—problem to have. And, regardless, this team will be a tough out in the postseason.