Keeping It 100: Astros Clinch A.L. West
Some say that “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” I guess the defending World Series champs didn’t get that memo. On a night where the Houston Astros won their 100th game for the second consecutive season, they also clinched another AL West title. The Astros became the 5th defending World Series champions to win that amount of games since 1970. After Houston defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada 4-1, they had to wait for the outcome of the Oakland A’s vs Seattle Mariners to find out if they would clinch a second consecutive AL West title. One person who was not waiting around for that outcome due to its late start was the Astros skipper A.J. Hinch.
“Do you hear my voice? I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and figure it out,” Hinch said when asked if he would watch the game. “I’m going to bed.”
In a shot heard around the world, or at least in Houston, Texas, the Mariners defeated the A’s in extra innings on a walk-off homerun by pinch-hitter Chris Herrmann. That loss combined with a Houston victory put the A’s in a winner-take-all matchup with the Yankees in a wild-card game.
For the Astros, 3B Alex Bregman continued to show voters around Major League Baseball why they should make him the 2018 A.L. MVP. Following in the footsteps of 2017 A.L. MVP Jose Altuve, Bregman has been very consistent throughout the year and that did not stop on Tuesday. He hit a two-run homer in the first inning (his 31st of the year) to set the tone in the game that he would also extend his streak of reaching base safely on the road to 53 games which is a new club record.
“We really haven’t played our best baseball until lately,” Bregman told the Associated Press. The MLB leader in doubles at 51 is also the 5th youngest player with a 50-double, 30-homerun season before turning 25.
Houston has 5 remaining games left and will close out their season in an afternoon game against the Orioles on Sunday. I expect that a lot of their starters will receive multiple days off as they head into the postseason where they will face the Cleveland Indians in the Division Series on Oct. 5th at Minute Maid Park.