• Brian L. Barefield

NEVER SETTLE: The Houston Astros begin their bid to repeat as World Series Champions

Updated: Oct 7, 2018

One definition of the word settle is: to make stable; place in a permanent position or on a permanent basis. But for the Houston Astros, they have taken that word and made it a mantra for the 2018 Major League Baseball season. “Never Settle” is plastered over every piece of literature, throughout the clubhouse, and Minute Maid Park as a constant reminder that the 2017 season is over. Now don’t get me wrong, they were highly successful on last season by winning the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but that was last year.

“The one thing that us winning the World Series last year did was to drive us to win another one. That’s been the only thing on our mind is to win that World Series,” said Houston Astros 3B Alex Bregman when he was asked about the confidence the team has entering into the 2018 MLB postseason.

Dating back to 1903, there have only been 14 teams to ever repeat as World Series Champions, with the New York Yankees being the last team to do it (1998-2000). The Astros look to become the 15th. Skipper A.J Hinch also knows that this year’s run will be different than last year’s, and he wants to make sure his team stays focused throughout the playoffs.

“I think our guys understand the urgency, but I think all teams that are still standing understand the urgency. It’s better to have that kind of reflection in the rearview mirror than to have bad memories, I guess. I’ll take the win over the loss.”

Houston will have a tough matchup in the American League Division Series as the 2018 A.L. Central champions Cleveland Indians. They come into town having won their division three years in a row. Cleveland lost 3 out the 4 to Houston in the regular season, winning one of those games in Minute Maid Park, but this is the first time either of the teams have met in the postseason.

The one advantage that the Astros have had on their opponents this year is their dominant starting pitching rotation. Houston led the Majors in ERA at 3.16, but the Indians finished third with at 3.39. Both teams will send their aces out in game one to try and get an advantage on each other. Seven-time All-Star and 2011 Cy Young winner Justin Verlander (16-9, 2.52) will take the mound for the Astros, while three-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber (20-7, 2.89) will start for the Indians. The two pitchers have the same mindset when approaching big games like this, especially Verlander.

“I think you definitely get excited. There’s more energy. There is more emotion, nerves, of all of it. You’d be lying if you said it’s like any other start,” Verlander said to reiterate how he feels about today’s game.

If it is one thing that I know about this 2018 Houston Astros team. They will come out and play game one like any other game on the schedule and not as the defending World Series champs because they, “Never Settle.”

1st pitch is at 1:05pm.

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