You heard about the brutal schedule to start the post all-star break portion of the schedule for weeks. Everyone thought the Astros would probably struggle some to get through it, a lot like that stretch of New York games just a month ago. But something has happened once again as the club has reminded everyone that they are not the team you want to see come October.
The Astros have been stuck in the villain role for some time now, a role that they clearly embrace more than others would. Booing them only seems to produce better results for the boys in blue, as they constantly make other fan bases feel so blue. From the moment that Jose Altuve rocketed one over the fence to lead-off the game on Friday night, to another one on Sunday, the Astros reminded what had been a red-hot Mariners team of their place in the division…and that is second.
Seattle is filled with young talent and they should be formidable for some time, but if they had any wild thoughts about making a crazy run on the Astros in the second half, those hopes clearly were extinguished this weekend. There was a day where the Astros were new money like the Mariners now are. But that is no longer who the Astros are. Make no mistake that this club is now old money that will still beat you down like those new young money teams so often will.
What makes the Astros different from most is that edge. It is something you gain over years of postseason runs. It is something that makes you more elite than others that fit in that elite category. This by no means is the best roster the Astros have ever fielded. In fact it is the worst overall hitting team that they have had in this incredible run. Yet here they are, pounding opponents into submission. From the Yankees in the double-header to the three game sweep of the Mariners, the Astros just seem to enforce their will on whoever they play. All of this has to keep teams up at night hoping they do not have to see the Astros come postseason time.
Despite being this great there are still places to get better. Certain bats have heated up as the season has moved along, while others currently find themselves in a slump. James Click and his staff have just days to make additions to this ballclub for the stretch run. No matter what happens between now and August 2nd, the Astros continue to remind everyone that they are the best team in baseball.