Houston Astros and the three-headed monster

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 21: Zack Grreinke #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a pitch in the first inning of the MLB game against the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field on September 21, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 21: Zack Grreinke #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a pitch in the first inning of the MLB game against the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field on September 21, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /
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It wasn’t the most exciting trade deadline, but one team rose above the rest and won the day. That team was the Houston Astros.

Don’t forget about the Houston Astros now because this team just bolstered itself back into championship contention with the additions they made yesterday at the deadline. Most notably, the acquisition of one Zack Greinke from the D-Backs won the day for the 2017 champs as he’s now added as the #3 starter behind Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in the Astros rotation.

This move puts the ‘Stros as the favorite to win the AL Pennant now that they’ve shored up the weakest point in their starting pitching. Brad Peacock is still on the shelf and the fifth slot in the rotation has been pieced together by the younger guys like Framber Valdez, Rogelio Armenteros, Cy Sneed, and Jose Urquidy in the meantime.

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The Houston Astros now have a full five slate of starters including two CY Young winners in Verlander and Greinke and a CY Young hopeful in Gerrit Cole, not to mention Wade Miley who’s been throwing the ball very well this year with a 9-4 record and 3.06 ERA, as well as Aaron Sanchez, acquired from Toronto as a secondary acquisition for this team.

There is some concern about Sanchez and his ability to hold it down as a starter; he may very well wind up as a bullpen asset in the very near future. But the change of scenery for him, as well as the shift to the bottom of a rotation (unlike in Toronto), might actually prove to be beneficial for him moving forward.

Why do yesterday’s moves put this team back in front to win the AL?

Starting pitching is what you need most of all when it comes to the postseason. In the case of a seven-game series, opponents are probably looking at a lineup of Verlander-Cole-Greinke twice in that series. That means six of the seven games are going to be against those three pitchers. And all three of them haven’t proven how dominant they can be, not just this year, but throughout the course of their careers.

Looking at potential opponents come October, we know how much Verlander can light up the Yankees lineup. We know Gerrit Cole can rattle off 12-13 strikeouts a game at any point. We know how deadly a pitcher Greinke is with the lethal fastball-changeup combo. The best time to catch this team is in the ALDS (a five-game set) because at most, this trio will be seen only once as a whole.

The Astros have a three-headed beast to deal with now in their rotation and potential playoff opponents like the Yankees or Twins have got their work cut out for them…….aside from the stacked Astros lineup that’s only weakness is its ability to stay fully healthy.

The Astros, to be quite honest, haven’t exactly jumped off the page this year for the most part even though they sit at 69 wins and 40 losses with an 8-game lead in the West. It’s been more of a quiet/under-the-radar year for them where they’re 8th in Runs Scored (566) and 6th in Home Runs (177), as opposed to where we’re used to seeing them closer to the #1-#2 slots in those categories (per ESPN team stats).

But what they pulled off yesterday boosts their stock ten-fold and moves them to the front of the line to win the World Series…….or at least puts them as favorites to meet the Dodgers once again in the Fall Classic.

Newly acquired Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer’s day off. dark. Next

Zack Greinke is still one of the top pitchers in this league and the Astros didn’t even have to give up top prospects Forrest Whitley or Kyle Tucker to get him. That’s a major win.

The Houston Astros are back in business.