At no point this season have the 2020 Houston Astros been comfortable on the road, a statement that was demonstrated on this past road trip. The team entered the road trip with a 5-9 record and proceeded to go 2-9. The performance of the team as a whole was less than stellar. After the road trip, the Astros enter Monday at 23-24, still second in the AL West, but barely holding on. This is a look at what went wrong on the road trip and what is at stake in the final two weeks of the Astros 2020 regular season.
Astros Road Trip
First of all, it wasn’t 100% bad (just about 82% bad.) They did come out of the trip with two wins. They won games against the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both were comeback wins, but the Dodgers win was particularly impressive, as they scored five in the ninth. All five runs came off of one of the best closers of the past decade in Kenley Jansen.
Unfortunately for Houston, that is where the good ends. While most of the other nine games were close, they were all losing efforts. During the road trip, the team ERA was just under six. The Astros runs per game was just under four. If you break it down, the team’s best offensive performances came during their worst pitching performances and vice versa. Houston scored about six runs per game in the Los Angeles Angels series, but the Angels averaged eight runs per game. The A’s averaged just four runs per game in their series, but the Astros averaged just two runs per game. When they’ve scored, they haven’t pitched well and when they pitched well they haven’t scored. It is a problem Houston has had all year on the road, and it came to a head in this past road trip.
What’s At Stake
Entering the road trip, the Astros had hopes at overtaking the A’s for first in the AL West. Now they must focus on just making the postseason. There have been a lot of struggles, but one thing is for certain, they must get it going. This slide has allowed the Seattle Mariners to sneak their way back into contention for a postseason spot. The Mariners enter Tuesday just one and a half games back of the reeling Astros. Whoever finishes in second place in the AL West gets an automatic playoff berth. The third-place finisher will miss the playoffs since both teams’ records are far from the seven and eight seed New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians, who are both 26-21.
Luckily, there is some good news, as there are some reinforcements on the way. On Wednesday, Lance McCullers Jr. will return from the Injured List and face the Texas Rangers. Blake Taylor is also on the verge of returning. Jose Altuve has been hitting in the batting cage and has been running, so his return isn’t far off. Also, Justin Verlander has been throwing from a mound, and the team is hoping he can return for the final week of the season. The Astros begin a six-game homestand on Tuesday and end the season with a seven-game road trip.
Embed from Getty Images