Ken Giles got in a very hollow last laugh on Wednesday. After the Astros clinched the American League West past 2 a.m. Toronto time, a lineup filled mostly with backups fell, 3-1, in a game that mattered little for most of the visitors. Giles, traded away by the Astros at the July deadline for Roberto Osuna, did pick up the save. He can enjoy that instead of a postseason check.
Carlos Correa, back in action after a week-long lay-off, was the DH and drove home Jake Marisnick in the fourth for Houston's only run. Myles Straw had two of the Astros' five hits. Straw also added a stolen base.
The Jaybirds scored back in the first when Randal Grichuk, the pride of Tomball, blasted a two-run homer off Chris Devenski. Their other run came on a solo homer by Reese McGuire in the fifth off Cionel Perez.
Lance McCullers, Reymin Guduan and Dean Deetz each tossed a single shutout inning to close out the series. Despite the 1-2-3 inning, McCullers seems like a longshot for at least the first playoff bracket.
The Astros return to their home country - well, Baltimore - for the final four games of the regular season. Houston only needs to win 3-of-4 to set a new franchise record for victories.
While A.J. Hinch tries to shape his playoff rotation, don't trust the listed starting pitchers in this series however the scheduled pairing are Gerrit Cole (15-5) versus righthander David Hess (3-10) in the 6:05 pm Central opener on Thursday. The Orioles, at 46-112, are down where the Astros were just five years ago. I hope they get a good draft for their suffering.
For Astros fans, enjoy a long weekend with no pressure and no scoreboard watching. Care about other things for a few days before the playoffs begin. Reunite with family members. Enjoy the fall weather. You've made it through another long, miserable summer and now you get to enjoy rooting for the defending World Champions. #NeverSettle
- Bob Hulsey