Fred Faour: Mariners are next in the Astros path to history

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock (13058135q) Houston Astros’ Yordan Alvarez, center, celebrates with teammates after hitting a game-winning RBI-single against the Seattle Mariners during the 10th inning of a baseball game, in Houston. The Astros won 3-2 in 10 innings Mariners Astros Baseball, Houston, United States – 31 Jul 2022

Fred Faour: Mariners are next in the Astros path to history

Eleven wins.

That is what the Astros need to win a second World Series in five years. They begin their quest on Tuesday when they face the Seattle Mariners, whose epic comeback ended Toronto’s season.

But the Astros are not the Jays.

Houston won 106 games in the regular season, 16 more than Seattle. They faced the Mariners 19 times, winning 12. Now they just need to win three games to advance to the next step.

This is old hat for the Astros. They have been to the ALCS five straight years, and made the World Series in three of those, including a win in 2017.

The Mariners are in the postseason for the first time in 21 years.

Mismatch? No. The Mariners are a good team. But the Astros are a great one. Justin Verlander will start Game 1 for Houston, he of the Cy Young season at 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA. The Mariners simply do not have the pitching depth to match up with Houston. After Verlander, it’s Framber Valdez (17-6, 2.82). Then perhaps Lance McCullers (4-2, 2.27). Or Cristian Javier (11-9, 2.54). Or Jose Urquidy (13-8, 3.94). Or even Rock a bye baby Luis Garcia (15-8, 3.72). Did we mention Hunter Brown (2-0, 0.89)? Three of those guys will bolster the bullpen.

The Mariners acquired Luis Castillo at the trade deadline and he was terrific in Game 1 against the Jays. As good as he is, he would be hard-pressed to make the Astros top three.

The Mariners have four players with 20 or more homers. The Astros? Five, including rookie Jeremy Pena with 22. Mariners star Julio Rodriguez had 28 HRs, 75 RBIs and 25 SBs. Nice.

However, Houston’s Kyle Tucker had a 30 HR/25 SB season with 107 RBIs.

The Mariners have had a good season. But the Astros hit better. They pitch better. They simply are better. The way the series plays out, the Mariners could face Verlander twice. That’s a tall order for any team. In a five game series, yes, anything can happen. But the Astros have higher aspirations. The Mariners are in the way. Houston has to get three wins to move on.

And then eight more.

That is the Astros goal. And they are good enough to make it happen.

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