An uninspired 2-4 week against the dregs of the American League has still led the Astros closer to an A.L. West title. How? Because their chief rivals in the division, Arlington and Seattle, fared no better. Both were swept by Cleveland and the Dodgers, respectively, this weekend so Houston taking one-of-three from the lowly Royals doesn't look as bad. But is this any way to build a championship season?
Valdez: Determined to halt skid
(c) Associated Press
The Mariners, after a sizzling 21-6 August to climb back into the race, has face-planted to a 5-11 mark in September through Sunday. Likewise, the Rangers, after a lethargic 15-12 in August, continues crawling through a 7-9 September. So Houston, sternly stumbling through a 17-11 August continue their way through a 7-8 September.
Thus, when play starts Monday, the Spacemen will hold an 84-66 record and a 1-1/2 game lead over 82-67 Arlington and a 2-1/2 game edge over Seattle, despite all three playing like they'd rather not get that first-round bye.
If bad opponents begets bad Astros baseball, what could good opponents cause. Houston answers that when thry return home Monday to face the first-place Baltimore Orioles, a likely playoff foe if they get that far. Houston took two-of-three from the O's in B'more in August so maybe a winning series could happen. Or it might not.
After this, the defending champs play their final regular-season series of the year against the Royals before hitting the road for games in Seattle and Arizona.
Kansas City 4, Astros 2
Kansas City 10, Astros 8
Astros 7, Kansas City 1
Star: Framber Valdez - 0 earned runs in seven innings to snap skid.
9/18 vs Baltimore, 7:10 p.m. CDT
9/19 vs Baltimore, 7:10 p.m. CDT
9/20 vs Baltimore, 1:10 p.m. CDT
- Bob Hulsey