I don't know if that's it for the Astros' 2023 season. What I do know is that I'm going to feel a whole lot better whenever the season ends, given the performance of this team in the last two weeks. Kansas City completed the sweep of the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Houston is 85-71, 2.5 back with six to play.
*AL Playoff Picture
1. Baltimore (97-59)
2. Forney (87-68)
3. Minnesota (83-73)
4. Tampa (95-62)
5. Toronto (87-69)
6. Houston (85-71)
7. Seattle (84-71)
*AL West Odds, and change from September 7 - the day after the Astros swept the Rangers:
Forney: 81.9% (+78.3%)
Houston: 11.5% (-51.1%)
Seattle: 6.6% (-27.2%)
*AL Postseason Odds:
*Would you qualify what has happened to the Astros in the last 18 days as a Collapse, a Fade, or just the Devil coming to collect his check? To ride the high of beating the absolute historic dog piss out of Forney in their own stadium to getting swept by the Royals and going 2-7 against the A's and the Royals?
The A's lost the last game of the Astros series on September 13...and then proceeded to lose the seven consecutive games after that. They're 48-108. Kansas City defies logic. Houston went to Kaufmann Stadium and the Royals had won two in a row. After completing the sweep the Royals have won 10 of their last 11 games. 18.5% of their 2023 wins have come in the last 13 days.
But Houston! What a bunch of nonces. The loss confirmed a losing season at home, the Astros "finishing" 39-42 at Minute Maid Park. They've lost five of their last six, nine of their last 12. They're 8-13 in September. They're 18-21 in 1-run games. They're 4-11 in 15 home games in September.
*Once again the pitching staff was suspect. Hunter Brown absolutely could not/did not deliver: 3IP, 6H/6ER, 4K:1BB, 4HR allowed. Hunter Brown is just the fifth Astro Starting Pitcher in franchise history to get no more than nine outs and allow four home runs. Jake Odorizzi last did it on August 4, 2021. He joins a distinguished group that includes Odorizzi, Brandon Bielak, Collin McHugh, and Ezequiel Astacio.
Starting Pitchers, Royals Series, September 22-24, 2023: 13.1IP, 17H/14ER, 19K:5BB, 4HR allowed (all Brown, yesterday). Brown:
I couldn't get the fastball away to the right-handed hitters. The ones that stayed middle or went inside, they were able to hit it out of the park.
On June 13 Hunter Brown threw seven scoreless innings against the Nationals to lower his ERA to 3.35 after 12 starts. Since then: (17 appearances, 16 starts): 79.1IP, 93H/60ER, 95K:28BB, 6.81 ERA / .906 OPS-against.
Bullpen, September 22-24, 2023: 13.2IP, 1H/0ER, 15K:5BB.
*The Astros were 1x10 with runners in scoring position, making them 4x30 in a series they lost by a total of four runs. Houston went 11x65 w/RISP against the Orioles and Royals - losing five games against the two teams by a total of nine runs.
*Jose Altuve was 2x5 with an RBI - his 29th multi-hit game of the season. He has played 84 games in 2023.
*Alex Bregman was 0x5, going 1x23 in his last seven games.
*Yordan Alvarez was 2x4, hitting his 29th home run of the season. He had an extra-base hit in every game against the Royals this season (4 doubles, 2 homers).
It sucks not being able to win right now and getting swept, but we've just got to forget and go to Seattle and play. Everybody knows what's going on. So we've just got to go there and be focused and try to win baseball games.
The champions always have pressure and I think the guys know what they need to do to be able to get out of this. We haven't got the results but we know what we need to do and it starts tomorrow.
Yes, for the fourth day in a row It Starts Today.
The clock's ticking down and getting close to the finish line. So every game, every pitch, every inning is important.
*Chandler Rome: Do the Astros have the stomach for this?
*Verlander goes tonight against Luis Castillo to open just another critical series of the rapidly-waning regular season. In six days it'll be over. Michael Brantley might be back tonight.
*The Astros put two waiver claims in on Matt Moore, but were beaten out by lesser teams each time.
*At least the Yankees will miss the postseason for the first time since 2016.
*What To Watch, September 25:
Coventry City @ Huddersfield Town: 2pm Central
New Jersey Devils @ Montreal Canadiens: 6pm
Rangers @ Angels: 8:38pm
Astros @ Mariners: 8:40pm
*A Musical Selection: