Astros headed toward first
with a 'wild card' in the deck
By Geronimo Rodriguez
The Daily Cougar
While it seems as if Drayton McLane and
his Astros didn't even bother to make a phone call regarding a potential
trade before the deadline and
many fans lost hope in the Astros' chances
of playing ball this October, the 'Stros have put together an impressive
As many die-hard Astros fans know, it's
hard to know what ignites this team's winning streaks and it's always better
to just let it ride. Especially
when the Astros have two chances to get
into the post-season — winning the division pennant race or grabbing the
wild card — it's easy to
forget about the team's conservative play
on trades this season.
Before the Astros (58-53) began a three-game
series Tuesday against the ever-slippery Florida Marlins (55-57), the team
was three games
behind St. Louis for the lead in the Central
Division and only one game behind second-place Cincinnati.
After the 'Stros defeated the Marlins 2-0,
the team was tied for second with Cincinnati and two games behind first-place
Astros right-hander Dave Mlicki (4-7) pitched
five innings of shutout baseball Tuesday, allowing only five hits and lowering
his earned run
average from 4.65 to 4.30. Mlicki also
broke a five-game losing streak.
The Marlins countered with right-hander
Josh Beckett (4-5, 4.19), who allowed two runs on three hits before being
pulled after the fifth.
Meanwhile, Albert Pujols and the Cardinals
(59-50) attempted to fend off Vladimir Guerrero and the Montreal Expos
(56-56), and the Reds
(58-53) took on the Colorado Rockies (50-62).
The Red Birds lost to the Expos 10-1. As
of press time, the Rockies were leading the Reds 6-1 in the top of the
The Astros, like always, won't be favored
to win the pennant, but the recent surge is perhaps all the team needs
to pull ahead of the rest. It
doesn't hurt that the 'Stros will wrap
up the tail end of this month with a 12-game home stand.
The National League's Wild West rivalries
will definitely have a resounding impact on the Astros post-season plans.
Along with the Astros and
Reds, the Los Angeles Dodgers (62-50)
and the Barry Bonds-led San Francisco Giants (61-50) are both vying for
the NL's wild card race.
Before the Dodgers and Giants began their
respective games Tuesday, the Giants trailed the Dodgers by half a game;
the Reds and Astros
were three and four games behind the Dodgers,