3 things that must happen for Houston Astros to return to World Series

Oct 12, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Houston Astros center fielder Jake Meyers (6) leaves the game with an apparent injury with manager Dusty Baker Jr. (12) after he jumped on the wall and missed the home run ball of Chicago White Sox designated hitter Gavin Sheets (not pictured) during the second inning in game four of the 2021 ALDS at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 12, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Houston Astros center fielder Jake Meyers (6) leaves the game with an apparent injury with manager Dusty Baker Jr. (12) after he jumped on the wall and missed the home run ball of Chicago White Sox designated hitter Gavin Sheets (not pictured) during the second inning in game four of the 2021 ALDS at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Houston Astros have been the butt of many jokes since the cheating scandal that spanned a pair of seasons, a timeline that included the 2017 World Series. Opposing fans have heckled the team for four years in a row with chants, memes, and social media slander.

Despite the adversity, the Houston Astros have put forth a 387-239 record since their World Series title. They have appeared in the ALCS the past five years and have a roster that could very well make it six.

Heading into Thursday’s action, the Astros are currently 13 games clear of the second-place Seattle Mariners and are the only team above the .500 mark in the tragically underachieving AL West, a division that looked like a potential monster with the Texas Rangers being big spenders in the offseason, the Los Angeles Angels having two of the most generational MLB players today (Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani), and the Mariners carrying a young and exciting roster.

The struggling division is not the only thing attributing to the Astros scorching hot first half of the season. Justin Verlander continues to defy his age as his ERA is hovering around 2.00, which is among the tops in the league. Yordan Alvarez is amongst the top 10 in every single hitting statistic that exists and even had a game-altering outfield assist.



Here are 3 things that need to happen for the Houston Astros to return to the World Series

Michael Brantley returns to his usual self

Brantley has been putting on a hitting clinic for five years running. With a batting average that rarely dips below .290, the Houston outfielder will be an important piece near the top of the lineup. Look for Brantley to return shorty after the All-Star break after his shoulder injury in late June. Brantley has been unable to swing a bat which left the Astros no choice but to place him on the IL.

Framber Valdez continues his great form

As mentioned earlier, Justin Verlander is having a superb start to the season, but Framber Valdez has been equally as impressive. Valdez leads the club with 101 innings pitched while only allowing six home runs. He has 93 strikeouts to 38 walks and an ERA at 2.67. A breakout season from Framber has been a pleasant surprise for manager Dusty Baker. A potential one-two punch of Valdez and Verlander could be a lethal weapon when October baseball arrives.

Additionally, Christian Javier (2.57 ERA) has also been fantastic for Houston and leads the team in strikeouts despite the least amount of innings pitched from qualifying starting pitchers.

Jake Meyers needs to own center field

Center field has been a position of question for the Astros. Chas McCormick has shown flashes of power in his starts but lacks consistency while Mauricio Dubon hasn’t produced enough consistently to remain in the lineup. McCormick’s opportunities will definitely always be there, but Dusty Baker’s track record has shown that he wants Meyers to be the man in center field.

Meyers was on the field in last year’s ALDS before suffering a gruesome shoulder injury. Baker wasted no time calling up the 26-year-old once his rehab assignment was completed and immediately inserted him into the lineup. Meyers has hit .273 in 36 at-bats since being called up. Meyers has been complimented for his competitive nature and extraordinary work ethic. Astros fans are hoping for one these guys to step up in center field and I think that Jake Meyers will give them the best shot.