Make some room

Why the roster expansion is significant for the 2018 Astros

Tyler White is earning his spot on the Astros' roster. Houston Astros/Facebook

This summer was an eventful one for Houston with Altuve, Springer and Correa hitting the DL among other injuries. Putting aside the tough losses to key competitors and those who remain on the DL, we have to look at the lineup that got the Astros through that stretch. With the roster expansion coming Saturday, this team will be ready for important matchups that are coming up such as those with Boston and Seattle.

There are two names that stand out in my mind when it comes to roster expansions: Tyler White and Max Stassi. These are two guys that have been playing quite regularly with the Astros, but we can't forget: that wouldn't be the case without all of Houston's injuries this season. Stassi and White are two huge reasons why the September call-ups are especially significant for this Astros team. The two have proven their worth to this team but still swing between Triple-A and the majors due to the depth of the Astros' clubhouse. As the rosters expand, these are just two of the players that the Astros will be able to rely on when the hits aren't coming, such as in Correa's 11-for-68 month of August, without having to worry about catching a flight to Fresno once another starter becomes healthy again.

White has made a few trips to Triple-A this season but was often called up following an injury. In the month of August, he has eight homers with 22 RBI in 22 games. With a .317, he is also the only Astro above .300 besides Jose Altuve, not to mention his clutch hits in late innings, such as his walk-off homer to win one of the biggest series the Astros have played this season against Oakland.

Max Stassi has also been a crucial member of the active roster through Brian McCann's absence. His ability to handle the Astros' starting rotation has earned him a regular spot in the lineup along with Martín Maldonado. They've proven to be a reliable duo behind the plate, but the corresponding move for McCann's return would have been inevitable. Through the expansion, McCann will be able to come up without anyone having to be sent down.

Kyle Tucker is likely to come back to the Astros and will hopefully bring the bat that's been incredibly hot for him in Fresno recently. Since being sent to Fresno earlier in August, the 21-year-old has crushed seven homers in seven games for 15 RBI, with a .531 average. Other possible call-ups include JD Davis, who has managed a .368 average since being sent down for Correa's return and Derek Fisher as Jake Marisnick remains on the DL. Cionel Perez, who maintains a 3.86 ERA in 2018, is also likely to come up as another left-handed reliever to add depth to the bullpen. If these guys can bring their Triple-A stats to Houston, it'll take the Astros to another level.

This is just another step towards another memorable playoff run. Especially in the wildly competitive AL West, these call-ups have the potential to really bring this team to the level they need to be at as they approach one of the most important stretches of their season. 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
This is getting out of hand. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images.

Dr. Rick warns his patients, young homeowners who are turning into their parents, you can expect to pay more for snacks and drinks at a movie theater. It's the same deal at a professional sports venue. Three years ago, I put a down payment on a cheeseburger at Toyota Center ... I still have three more payments to go before I get it.

But this is ridiculous. The PGA Championship, the lesser (least) of golf's majors, is charging $18 for a beer, a 25-ounce Michelob Ultra, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. It's $19 for a Stella Artois. You can buy a six-pack for less at the supermarket. Aren't there laws against price gouging, like during a hurricane? Isn't Tulsa where the Golden Hurricanes play? Get FEMA in here. Did tournament directors get together and ponder, how can we piss off our fans? Sure, it's Tulsa and there's not much else to do, but that's no excuse.

Charging $18 for a beer makes the concession stands at Minute Maid Park look like a Sunday morning farmer's market. A 25-ounce domestic beer during an Astros game is $13.49. A 25-ounce premium beer is $14.45. Yeah, that's high for a beer, but at Minute Maid Park there are lots of hands in the till. Aramark wants to make a profit, the taxman has big mitts, and the Astros want their cut, too. Look, you want to sign Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez to an extension or not? Then drink up and don't complain. Some quiet grumbling and head-shaking is permitted, however.

You know the PGA Championship is charging too much for a beer when even the rich pampered players take notice. "18 (!!!!!) for a beer ... uhhh what," former PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas tweeted. "Good thing I don't drink a lot."

Like he will be in line for a beer at a public concession booth, anyway.

Of course there will be fans sneaking in beer in baggies strapped to their ankles, like stuffing your pockets with store-bought Snickers before going to the movies. It doesn't have to be this way. The Masters, the most prestigious golf event, charges only $5 for both domestic and imported beer. I know it's a gimmick, part of The Masters mystique along with pimento sandwiches for $1.50, but still it's a welcome gesture. You never lose when you treat the public fairly. When Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in Atlanta, Falcons owner Arthur Blank insisted that food vendors charge the same inside the stadium as they do at their regular restaurants. Same thing when Denver International Airport opened, fast food restaurants couldn't jack up their prices to their captive customers. Here? There needs to be a loan window outside the Cinnabon booth at Bush-Intercontinental.

Except for the Masters in Augusta, golf's majors aren't tied to a city. A major comes to a city maybe every few years or in most cases never. There's no need to ride into a city like the James Gang, rob the local bank, and high tail it out of town. Golf should be the last professional sport to stick it to fans. While the game has made strides to open its arms to lower-income youths, golf remains an elitist, extremely expensive sport for regular folk. Equipment is expensive, private courses are exclusive and country clubs are exclusionary. Public courses are less expensive but still expensive and crowded. Plus there's never been a professional sport more dangerously dominated by one person than golf. I can imagine network executives on their knees praying that Tiger Woods makes the cut and plays on weekends. Otherwise, TV ratings go straight into the toilet, you know, like whatever team Mattress Mack is betting on. (I joke because I love, and frankly a little scared.)

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome