The Pallilog

This Astros streak could last a while

Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Astros roll into the weekend on a six game winning streak. Their road trip begins with three games at the atrocious Orioles then three at the faded White Sox. Check my calculation, but if they win all six that would make for a 12 game winning streak. It's not likely but it's a darn decent possibility. Fun with math: if the Astros are 85 (a very high number) percent likely to win each game, it's a 38 percent likelihood they win all six. Bump it up to 90 percent likely to win each game and winning all six becomes a better than 50/50 shot.

Three times in their history the Astros have ripped off 12 consecutive wins. The first came in September of 1999, the final season of the Astrodome. As it played out they needed all 12 wins as the Astros won the National League Central by one game, with Mike Hampton winning his franchise record 22nd game of the season on the final day of the regular season.

12 game winning streak number two came in 2004, straddling August and September. The Astros began the stretch at 64-63, seven games out of the NL Wild Card (only one per league back then). At streak's end they were tied for the Wild Card spot, and would go on to win the last seven games of the regular season schedule to edge out the Giants by one game.

The most recent 12 gamer goes all the way back to…last season. At 37-25 the defending World Series Champions weren't struggling, but a dozen wins later they were nearly halfway to their ultimate win total: the single season franchise record of 103.

The 2019 juggernaut Astros are on pace to win 105 games. To win "only" 100 the Astros can struggle to the finish with a 25-22 record. Bet the over. Never assume, but…

No franchise in MLB history has ever strung together four consecutive 100 win seasons. It doesn't take 20/20 vision to see that as in play for the 2020 Astros. As I put it in a video earlier this week, this Astros' squad is stacked like Pamela Anderson in the 90s.

Still, for all the Astros' awesomeness, they enter the weekend trailing the Yankees (winners of nine in a row) and Dodgers (winners of five straight) by one game in the race for homefield advantage in prospective American League Championship Series and World Series matchups. So the Astros need to keep winning. And winning. And winning. And they probably will.

Giant streak

One of my favorite baseball factoids is about the winning streaks of the 1916 New York Giants. They started the season 2-13, then racked up 17 straight wins. Toward the end of the season the Giants won the still standing record of 26 in a row. 26! The 1916 New York Giants finished fourth. Combining the two streaks the Giants went 43-0. The rest of the season they went 43-66.

Adding a Duke

Thursday night's Texans preseason opener at Green Bay was, well, a football game. Kind of. Four preseason games are not necessary evils. What they are, are annual rip-offs of season ticket holders. Commissioner Babble pays lip service every year to "we know it's not what the fans want and above all else we care about the fans (well, other than maybe player safety)." The owners will get rid of two easy profits preseason games per year just as soon as the players agree to an 18 game regular season schedule.

The Texans' General Manager-less braintrust made a nice little acquisition in running back Duke Johnson from Cleveland. As long as he isn't a malcontent. The Texans have never before had a quality third down pass catching complementary back. Arian Foster was an all-around beast for a few years, which probably contributed to his short shelf life of excellence. Lamar Miller is a solid starting running back, but not good enough to be an unquestioned every down back. Last season Miller caught 25 passes at a lackluster 6.5 yards per reception. Johnson caught his career low in four seasons with the Browns, 47. In 2017 he caught 74 passes and for his career Johnson is over nine yards per reception. If the Texans are good and Johnson is one reason why, trading a low third round pick for a guy under contract for this season and two more is a good deal. Add in the track record of Texans' third round picks and it looks fantastic!

You bet...

Saturday September 7: LSU at Texas is a pick 'em, Clemson is an 18 ½ point home favorite over A&M. If forced to play one of the four teams, Gig 'Em!

Buzzer Beaters

1. The 2016 Reds gave up a record 258 home runs. The 2019 Orioles are on pace to give up 332. Even with the juiced balls, that's ridiculous. 2. Keke Coutee injured? Go figure. 3. Best salad dressings: Bronze-blue cheese Silver-balsamic vinaigrette Gold-honey lime

Astros rough offseason continues

Cole's deal with Yankees changes the AL landscape

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

In what came as a surprise to no one, former Astro Gerrit Cole is now a New York Yankee. Cole signed a record nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yankees.

While the Astros were never in the running to re-sign Cole, his signing with New York comes as a double whammy. The Yankees were only four wins behind the Astros during the regular season and pushed them to six games in the ALCS. Poaching Cole, who was 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts, easily flip flops the two teams. The Astros have no one to replace Cole's production, no matter what they do. The Yankees just added a legitimate ace, and stamped themselves as the new favorites in the AL.

For the Astros, it was an expected blow, and just the latest in what has been a rough off-season filled with scandal and now rumors that Carlos Correa may be on the block.

What's next for Astros?

Part of the price of success is your players have to get paid. Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve are locked down, but Correa and George Springer are due for big deals, and the Astros have expressed a desire to keep the payroll under control. That is not good news for the 2020 Astros and beyond.

The Astros have an easy solution for Correa; moving Alex Bregman to short and Yuli Gurriel to third, and look for a cheaper option at first base. Correa's injury history has limited his production, so that's a loss they could stomach.

The losses mount

But there is no ready solution for Cole. Lance McCullers is expected back, and Jose Urquidy will get likely get a chance. They will also look for a bargain basement, Wade Miley type. But in general, the Astros - with or without Correa - will not be as good next season. While they will still be title contenders and there is plenty of time to fill some holes (they did, after all, trade for Cole two seasons ago), they won't be the favorites in the AL.

That honor now belongs to the Yankees.

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