I’m not one to make bold predictions like this unless I am confident that I will be correct, and that is exactly how I feel about the chances of the Houston Astros this postseason. I am about to go all-out Joe Namath and guarantee a World Series victory for the Houston Astros this year, obviously barring any serious injuries.
I have never been as confident that a team is head-and-shoulders above the rest of its competition like I am with this Astros squad. Last year, I was confident in the Red Sox and I knew they were the best team in the league, but I still thought they could be beaten.
I can’t foresee any team beating the Astros in a five- or seven-game series, even if the opposing team plays its best possible baseball. The Astros control their own destiny this year. If they play up to the level that they are capable of, they will be raising their second trophy in three years at the end of the month.
This Astros team has no weaknesses at all. Their starting rotation? Lethal. Their bullpen? Lockdown. Their lineup? Deadly. Their fielding? Superb. There’s just no area of this team to be exploited, and no other team even remotely stacks up to them.
Let’s start with the pitching. I’m not sure we’ve ever seen such a dominant one-two punch as Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. I mean, which one of them is even the ace? If they could somehow share the Cy Young Award this year, that would be the only way to fully recognize their incredible seasons.
They are just the second pair of teammates in baseball history to each record 300 strikeouts in a season, after Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2002. The duo also each won 20 games and finished first and second in the AL in ERA. In a seven-game series, you are going to have to face one of these two studs at least four times. That is almost a guaranteed series loss right there.
And who is their number three starter? Just a former Cy Young Award winner by the name of Zack Greinke who has an 8-1 record since being traded. This pitching rotation is grossly unfair.
The Astros bullpen is almost as scary as their rotation. They have the league-leader in saves Roberto Osuna and two of the premier bullpen arms in the game with Will Harris and Ryan Pressly. If they get a lead early, these guys aren’t going to blow it.
How will they get that early lead? Well, the Astros also happen to have a top-three offense in the MLB. They rank first in batting average and OPS, and third in hits, runs and home runs.
Their lineup includes the likely AL MVP Alex Bregman, who has had a remarkable season with 41 home runs, 112 RBIs and an OPS north of 1.000. It also includes former MVP Jose Altuve, perennial star (and UConn grad) George Springer and the almost-guaranteed AL Rookie of the Year Yordan Alvarez. Add on Yuli Gurriel and Michael Brantley and you have a lineup that absolutely nobody wants to face.
The icing on the cake is the Astros’ fielding. Simply put, they don’t screw up. As a team, they have committed the second fewest errors in the entire MLB and they own the second best fielding percentage at .988.
How is anybody going to beat this team? They are the best of the best in all three parts of the game.
Sorry New York fans (not really), the Yankees can score a lot of runs, but they don’t have the pitching that Houston has. Houston’s most-likely opponent in the World Series will be the Dodgers, who have terrific pitching, but their lineup doesn’t have the star power that the Astros have from top to bottom.
The Astros will win the World Series this year without a doubt in my mind. They are far above any team in the AL field in my opinion and the only team that I think can hang with them in the NL is the Dodgers, but the Astros are still clearly better.
I don’t just expect them to win the World Series, I expect them to follow what the Red Sox did last year and roll over the competition. Because they are just that good.
Danny Barletta is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @dbars_12.