Kyle Tucker walks off and the Houston Astros are rolling right along again.
The Astros were struggling out of the gate in this 60-game, coronavirus-shortened MLB season. The defending American League champions were 7-10 on the year heading into the final game of their series against the San Francisco Giants. They won that game and got a big break by facing the awful Mariners at home this weekend. Tucker’s blast is why the Astros have won four in a row.
Are the Houston Astros ready to make a charge up the AL West standings?
Every game is precious this season. With only 60 on the year, every game carries the weight of 2.7 games in a typically 162-game season. Houston is now winners of four games in a row, which is tied for the longest winning streak in baseball. The Astros improved to 11-10 on the year but are still four games back of the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics at 15-6. Can they catch them?
If the season were to end right now (and let’s hope not for obvious reasons), the Astros would be the No. 8 seed in the expanded AL postseason field with a 52.4 winning percentage, edging out the .500 Chicago White Sox for the final spot. Though the winning streak will come to an end at some point, Houston may have finally found its footing after an incredibly challenging offseason.
As for the Mariners, they stink. Seattle has the longest active postseason drought in baseball, dating back to 2001. With the Washington Nationals reaching and winning the 2019 World Series, the M’s are the only MLB franchise to never make it to a Fall Classic in their history. At 7-16 on the year, they are percentage points better than the Boston Red Sox for the worst record in the AL.
Overall, Houston may have too much adversity to overcome and be the best team in the American League this season. However, much of the talent from its World Series teams are still in place. By pure will and determination, the Astros might have what it takes to earn a top-eight seed in the AL postseason on grit alone. Though nobody outside of Houston wants to see it happen, it still could.
Tucker’s walk-off home run was the cherry on top of a series sweep of the lost-at-sea Mariners.