Charlie Pallilo: Astros have to acquire a closer they can trust in tight games

Pallilo Points

Charlie Pallilo: Astros have to acquire a closer they can trust in tight games
Nobody trusts Ken Giles with a one-run lead in the 9th. Photo 1 by Jim McIssac/Getty Images Photo 2 by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The Mariners are playing really well right now, but Charlie Pallilo fully expects the Astros to firmly hold first place once the playoffs roll around. Despite Ken Giles being perfect in save opportunities this season, the Astros will need some more help from the bullpen as they approach the playoffs. Two names that could help the Astros are Orioles reliever Zach Britton and Padres reliever Brad Hand.

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Can Hunter Brown and Ronel Blanco lead the way? Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros are coming off a big series win over the Tigers, as they head to Chicago to take on the White Sox Tuesday night. Unfortunately for Houston, even with the series win, they still lost ground to the division leading Mariners.

With the Astros nine games behind Seattle, and seven games behind the Twins in the Wild Card standings, time is running out for the club if they want to make a push before the All Star break and trade deadline.

Basically, the entire season is riding on this next stretch of games. But it won't come easy, even against weaker opponents. Justin Verlander is dealing with neck discomfort, missing his last start over the weekend, and Spencer Arrighetti was rocked by the Tigers on Saturday.

With no starting pitching ready to make the jump from Sugar Land to the big league club, Houston's five starting pitchers have no room for error.

And while the offense has been inconsistent this season, especially with runners on base, they do sport the sixth-best OPS in baseball.

If they're going to get back into this thing, a healthy Kyle Tucker and Verlander will have to be part of the equation. Tucker is still recovering from a bruised shin, and will have to make some rehab starts in the minors before returning.

Verlander, however, may return as soon as this week against the White Sox or Orioles. If JV returns and Blanco and Brown continue dealing, hopefully the club can fight their way back to .500.

But keep in mind, some key players are showing regression. Jake Meyers, Jeremy Pena, and Jon Singleton are not swinging the bats well right now. And Chas McCormick hasn't gotten going all season.

At some point, the club needs to give Joey Loperfido a chance to prove himself in the big leagues.

What do they have to lose?

Be sure to check out the video above as we discuss this critical stretch of games on the horizon for Houston, and much more!

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