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All the reasons Houston Astros are poised for another World Series run

All the reasons Houston Astros are poised for another World Series run
The Houston Astros are on a roll. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

There are certain events in one's life in which you'll remember where you were and what you were doing when they happened. Whether good or bad, those memories are etched in your brain. Finding out you're going to be a parent for the first time, your first kiss, getting that new car, and when the Astros won the 2017 World Series. That euphoric feeling of watching the team you've rooted for finally win the ultimate prize was everything, especially coming off years of losing 90-100 games or so every year. It was really late and the whole house was sleep. I had to contain my excitement and celebrate as quietly as possible.

Fast-forward five years, and we could experience that euphoria all over again. As of this writing, they are 13.5 games up in the AL West and only 4.5 games behind their sons (aka the Yankees) for best record in the AL and MLB overall. They own the third best run differential in MLB, have an AL MVP candidate in Yordan Alvarez, an AL Cy Young candidate in Justin Verlander, and they may sure up some deficiencies by the trade deadline. Even if they don't make another move, this team can compete with anyone.

Go back a few months and see how many people truly thought this was possible. I myself thought they'd compete, make the playoffs, but sputter out. I wasn't confident in the pitching staff being what it is and wasn't sure the lineup would round into shape. Add that with the fact that they lost one of the guys who was a leader in the clubhouse (and one of their best players in Carlos Correa) and replaced him with a rookie, you wouldn't have been wrong to think they may even miss the playoffs or barely make the wildcard game.

Good thing is this team is resilient. Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel were struggling to start this season and are rounding into shape. Jeremy Peña, Correa's replacement, has been a revelation. There isn't much difference in their offensive numbers. In fact, there are several categories Peña is actually better at than Correa. His defense isn't that far off from Correa's either. People can say what they want about Machete, but that's OUR catcher and I love him! He can hit below the Mendoza Line all he wants when he plays that kind of defense and handles the staff the way he does. Centerfield is another area some think needs improvement. I think they're fine. Could the CF's hit and field better? Yes, but that could go for a number of guys. It isn't as weak of a spot as we think.

This team continues to show why they're a modern-day dynasty. Five straight ALCS appearances, three World Series appearances, and one title over the last five years is pretty damn good. Factor in all the free agent losses, sign stealing scandal, Covid, and everything else they've dealt with and overcome, I'll die on that hill of calling them a modern-day dynasty. A World Series win with this group would solidify that claim, as well as prove the haters wrong. Poetic justice in my eyes looks like this: beating the Yankees in the ALCS, then beating the Dodgers in the World Series just like they did in 2017. Then we can hit them with this gem.

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Justin Verlander will start for the Astros on Friday night. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros (22-28, third in the AL West) vs. Oakland Athletics (21-31, fourth in the AL West)

Oakland, California; Friday, 9:40 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Astros: Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 26 strikeouts); Athletics: Ross Stripling (1-8, 5.19 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 32 strikeouts)

BETMGM SPORTSBOOK: LINE Astros -170, Athletics +142; over/under is 8 1/2 runs

BOTTOM LINE: The Oakland Athletics begin a three-game series at home against the Houston Astros on Friday.

Oakland has a 21-31 record overall and a 12-14 record in home games. The Athletics have hit 65 total home runs to rank third in the AL.

Houston is 22-28 overall and 8-13 in road games. The Astros have a 13-4 record in games when they did not allow a home run.

The teams match up Friday for the fifth time this season. The Astros lead the season series 4-0.

TOP PERFORMERS: Brent Rooker has 11 home runs, 17 walks and 32 RBI while hitting .286 for the Athletics. Max Schuemann is 12-for-35 with a double and two RBI over the past 10 games.

Kyle Tucker leads Houston with 17 home runs while slugging .638. Alex Bregman is 9-for-38 with three home runs and six RBI over the last 10 games.

LAST 10 GAMES: Athletics: 2-8, .225 batting average, 5.25 ERA, outscored by 27 runs

Astros: 7-3, .272 batting average, 3.13 ERA, outscored opponents by 20 runs

INJURIES: Athletics: Esteury Ruiz: 10-Day IL (wrist), Darell Hernaiz: 60-Day IL (ankle), Alex Wood: 15-Day IL (rotator cuff), Paul Blackburn: 15-Day IL (foot), Joseph Boyle: 15-Day IL (back), Freddy Tarnok: 60-Day IL (hip), Luis Medina: 60-Day IL (knee), Sean Newcomb: 60-Day IL (knee), Aledmys Diaz: 60-Day IL (calf), Miguel Andujar: 10-Day IL (knee), Ken Waldichuk: 60-Day IL (elbow), Trevor Gott: 60-Day IL (elbow)

Astros: Oliver Ortega: 60-Day IL (elbow), Bennett Sousa: 60-Day IL (shoulder), Penn Murfee: 60-Day IL (elbow), Luis Garcia: 60-Day IL (elbow), Lance McCullers Jr.: 60-Day IL (elbow), Jose Urquidy: 15-Day IL (forearm), Kendall Graveman: 60-Day IL (elbow)

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