70.8 F
Los Angeles

Newly crowned AL West champion Astros look for

As Houston prepares for the second game of its three-game series in St. Petersburg, Fla., against the Tampa Bay Rays — a rivalry that could play out again in the playoffs — the Astros will have to refresh after a postgame celebration.

Manager Dusty Baker’s group will be playing the game as American League West champions with a small “y” beside its name in the standings.

Monday night’s 4-0 win keyed by starter Luis Garcia, leadoff hitter Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman helped the Astros arrive at their magic number to win the division.

Following the milestone victory, Astros players — donned in “The West is Ours” t-shirts — held a celebration that featured spurting beverages and festive yelling in their clubhouse.

Like they have against both leagues all season, the Astros (97-51) have battered balls and left the yard frequently on their way to not only owning the West, but also laying claim to the entire junior circuit as well.

Yordan Alvarez bashed a trio of homers Friday in a 4-for-4 power show. His fourth hit was a scorching 109.3 mph single. He homered again Saturday then produced two hits and four RBIs on Sunday.

Last week over six games, the 6-foot-5 slugger hit .520 with five homers and 10 RBIs for a 1.836 OPS, earning him AL Player of the Week honors.

“My body feels great,” said Alvarez, who suffered a right-hand issue and slumped in August, “but it is no secret I have had to battle with hand issues.”

  Rangers attempt to conquer Marlins' tired bullpen

“The balls he hit had a lot of mileage to them,” Baker said of Alvarez’s three-homer display.

Playing the second game of a stretch of 13 straight against winning clubs, the Rays (82-65) did very little — managing five hits against Garcia and relievers Hunter Brown and Hector Neris — and were blanked for the eighth time this season.

“I thought we hit the ball hard the early part of the night,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash, whose team left 10 men on base and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. “But all their pitchers did a good job.”

Batting .311, Harold Ramirez had three of the Rays’ five hits, including a pair of doubles to the opposite field. Former Astro Jose Siri walked and stole his 14th base.

Drew Rasmussen (10-6) received his second straight loss after earning wins in four of his five previous starts.

Making his 23rd start to go with five relief appearances, Cristian Javier (9-9, 2.87 ERA) takes the ball Tuesday for Houston.

He won in Detroit Wednesday with six scoreless innings, allowing two hits to the Tigers while striking out eight in Houston’s 2-1 triumph.

In one career start against the Rays on May 2, 2021, Javier received a no-decision after five innings. He allowed three runs on four hits while walking two and striking out four.

Shane McClanahan (12-5, 2.13) returned to the mound Thursday and fired five shutout innings in an 11-0 win to conclude the Rays’ five-game series over four days against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

  Astros, Rays meet in rematch of 2020 ALCS

He will get the nod against Houston.

In just one career appearance against the Astros, McClanahan pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief against them in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series on Oct. 16, 2020, a 7-4 Rays loss. He allowed five hits and three runs.


How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Latest articles

Angels Stadium Seating Chart

Angels Stadium Seating Chart details you should know before buying a ticket. Angel Stadium of...

Betting on baseball

Betting on baseball can seem confusing at first, but it's actually quite simple once you...

The Astros main X-Factor for 2022 MLB Playoffs

The Houston Astros have once again emerged as the team to beat out of the...

A’s Chad Pinder: Oakland is ‘a place that...

With Stephen Vogt’s retirement announcement last week, the A’s only have one impending free agent...

Subscribe for tips

More like this

Uncertainty looms with Astros’ leadership despite

The Astros wrapped up the top seed in the American League Friday night, having...

Marlins prioritizing high-contact hitters this offseason

For the second straight offseason, the Marlins will head into the winter needing to...

Josh Jung bids to impress as Rangers face Angels

The Texas Rangers will continue to give a strong look to top prospect Josh...

After clincher, Mariners look to improve wild-card

The Seattle Mariners might have a few bleary-eyed players, and even some coaches, when...

MLB roundup: Mariners clinch first playoff bid

Pinch hitter Cal Raleigh hit a tiebreaking, walk-off home run with two outs in...

Offseason outlook for the Oakland Athletics

The 2022 A’s were as bad as expected after trading away Matt Olson, Chris...