A weekend series with the Rangers where the Astros absolutely had to win at least two out of three resulted in exactly that, and so the Astros finish the crucial nine-game home stand with a 5-4 record. Not great, but maybe good enough to hold on to the 2nd Wild Card spot.
More on yesterday's Astros game in a second, but the Angels beat the Mariners and the Twins beat the Tigers. So the race is as such:
The Rangers host the Tigers, the Angels host the A's, and Minnesota goes to Cleveland. There are six games remaining in the season.
The Astros finished the season with a 53-28 home record, tying the 2005 Astros for best home record in the Minute Maid Park era. Reminder that the 2013 Astros won 51 games at home and on the road, combined.
The Astros beat the Rangers 4-2 behind Dallas Keuchel's gem, in which he set a Major League record for most wins at home without a loss (15-0). He also set a franchise record for most strikeouts in a single season by a lefty. Keuchel downplayed those accomplishments:
It's definitely nice because nobody likes to lose. It doesn't matter if it's professional ranks or college, nobody really likes to lose. We've done a lot of that these last couple of years. The turnaround has been nice. Guys are playing with more confidence; guys are maturing; guys are growing, and that is fun to see.
*ESPN's David Schoenfield wonders if Keuchel had the greatest home season of all time.
*Chris Carter is picking a strange time to go insane. Maybe it's that he relaxed when everybody just expected him to either sit on the bench for the rest of the season or strike out if he didn't, but over the past month Carter has played in nine games, getting 35 plate appearances. In those plate appearances, Carter is hitting - wait for it - .367/.457/.933 - a 1.390 OPS. Four of his last six hits have been home runs. Looking forward to writing the "What the heck do we do about Chris Carter" post this offseason, whenever that comes.
Hinch, on Carter:
It's easy to look at his season as a whole and poke holes in it. But when you look at the last four to six weeks, he has played pretty well, and he's been very big for us.
*Carlos Gomez scored a run yesterday and Hinch hopes to get him back in the lineup early on in this upcoming series against the Mariners, but it's doubtful that Gomez will be 100% before Spring Training 2016.
*This Dallas guy would like to point out the very obvious fact that the Astros should be more concerned about the Angels than the Rangers.
*Despite nagging injuries to Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon vowed to put his best lineup on the field. That doesn't include pitchers James Paxton and Taijuan Walker.