• Brian L. Barefield

Astros West Coast Trip Provides Major Insight

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

When the 2021 MLB scheduled was released, no one imagined that a three-game series in late July between the Houston Astros and the San Francisco Giants could be a potential World Series preview. After watching the two teams perform this weekend, it seems as if they are on a collision course to meet again in late October.

Although the Giants won the series 2-1, fans were treated to some very good baseball over the weekend and both teams got a chance to see what each other looked like up close and personal.

“They’re two very good teams,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said in his post-game press conference. “They’re one of the best teams that we’ve seen. They seem to get what they need. It was a heck of a series from the fan standpoint.”

One tweak that the Astros will have to fix, before making a return trip to the West Coast is their starting rotation which has seemed to hit a bit of a hiccup on this current road trip. They have a 6.98 ERA in their last six starts. It is a good thing that general manager James Click took the necessary precautions to go out and get some strong relievers in Phil Maton, Kendall Graveman, Rafael Montero, and Yimi Garcia.

"I think the moves that we made really shored up an area of our roster that we felt like needed a little bit of attention,” said general manager James Click. “Again, I feel really good about our offense, I feel really good about our starting pitching, and I now feel really good about our bullpen. I think we have a very complete team.”

Houston has a 3-3 record after six games on a current eight-game road trip that will conclude against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who is chasing the Giants in the NL West for the top spot. L.A. is very tough at home with a 33-18 home record. They strengthen their team right before the trading deadline ended on Friday by acquiring three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and 2021 All-Star selection Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals.

The Astros will expect to hear some unpleasantries from the fans when they take the field against the Dodgers, who still holds animosity over losing the World Series in 2017. Both teams split a two-game series earlier this season in Houston, but it is always very interesting when these two teams meet up.

Last year during the shortened season due to the COVID pandemic, the benches cleared after Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly and Astros shortstop Carlos Correa exchanged words at the end of an inning. No physical contact happened during the small fracas, but it solidified that these two teams have developed a disdain for one another over the last four years.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a lot more hostile when we get to L.A. so just got to deal with it,” said Dusty Baker. “You’re not really worried about the reception that we’re going to get. You’ve just got to go out there and play ball.”

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