Keep Houston Press Free
| Sports |

Astros Reach the Most Pivotal Series of the Season Thus Far

George Springer will return from his thumb injury Friday in Oakland.
George Springer will return from his thumb injury Friday in Oakland.
Photo by Jack Gorman

If in May someone told you the Astros would have a critical series in mid-August, you would probably guess Yankees or Red Sox or Indians or Angels or Mariners, right? Very few would have said it would be against the A's. Hell, two months ago, no one would have told you that. But, Friday, the Astros open a three-game set in Oakland against the team breathing down their neck for the division lead.

It's been a remarkable run for the Athletics. On June 15, the A's were 34-36, eleven-and-a-half games back of the Astros. After their loss Thursday, two months later to the day, the are now 72-49, just two games back. They have gone 38-13 in two months and gained nine games in the division. By any standard, that is incredible.

In that same time frame, the Astros are 28-22, not awful especially considering the injuries they have sustained, but they will need to do better than that this weekend.

By the end of this weekend, the Astros could trail the A's in the AL West or they could be up five games. More likely, it will be something in between. They took one positive step Thursday night when they hammered the Rockies 12-1. They had five home runs, including two from Evan Gattis and two from Tyler White. Gattis had been in an 0-20 hole at the plate and the Astros had managed only one homer in the previous four games. In fact, they scored more runs Thursday night than they did in the previous four games (8), all losses.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

They also got welcome news that George Springer, who has missed more than a week with a strained thumb, will return Friday. Additionally, Jose Altuve took batting practice and did some fielding before the game Thursday night, showing the first real signs of progress we have seen from the MVP in weeks. Finally, Brian McCann is scheduled for a rehab stint beginning early next week, on his way back from knee surgery.

Still, it's a tough road ahead. All of the Astros' remaining games this month are within the division including six against the A's, three against the Mariners and five with the Angels. Where they stand on September 1 will likely determine where they wind up at the end of this season.

And it all starts Friday night in Oakland of all places.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.