Are the Gerrit Cole injury and recent losses a reason to be concerned about the Astros?

by Travis Pulver
August 16th 2019, 10:14am

The Houston Astros have been one of the better teams in baseball throughout the 2019 season. They have had a productive offense for most of the year—except when they got hit with a bunch of injuries –and one of the better pitching staffs in the league.

Then they went and picked up Zack Greinke right before the trade deadline. Houston went from being one of the favorites to win the World Series to the favorite followed closely by the Dodgers and Yankees.

World Series Winner

But with only about 40 games left to play in the regular season, Astros fans still have reason to be concerned about their team. Yes, everything looks great right now, but what if someone crucial to the team's playoff aspirations gets hurt?

Gerrit Cole was pulled from his last start because of a hamstring issue.

What if the offense or defense slumps at the wrong time?

After clobbering the Orioles 23-2 last Saturday, they lost three of the next four (one against the Orioles and two of three to the White Sox). While they only scored a single run in one of the losses, they scored seven and nine runs in the other two.      

So—should fans be worried? Are the Astros still a good bet to win it all?

The answer is actually pretty simple: Yes, the Astros are still a great bet to win it all this season.

Astros win in the MLB

Cole was supposed to start the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader with the White Sox. But during warm-ups, his hamstring didn't feel right, so they pulled him from the game. The team has since gotten some testing done, and, according to Cole, the prognosis was a good one (via ESPN):

"We got some good news back today that it's not super serious. So, we'll just take it day-by-day right now and kind of see how it responds to some treatment and some rest. Then get back out there as soon as we can."

As much as the team would love to have him for the remainder of the season, the Astros do not have a particularly tough slate remaining on their schedule. They don't face any current division leaders the rest of the way and only face three playoff teams.

So, should he need a break, there is a good chance the team will be fine without him. Even if they aren't, it is more important to have him healthy come playoff time.

As for the mini-slump—things like that happen to even the best of teams. When you play a 162-game schedule, there are bound to be a few games where the team isn't at its best. In those games, it is not going to be hard for even the worst teams in the league to steal a win.

World Series Matchup

Houston is going to be just fine. They have one of the best rotations in baseball. While their bullpen has had some issues lately, throughout the season, they have been one of the best.

As for the offense, they have four guys hitting better than .300 and nine with double-digit home runs. But as a team, they are one of four with 200+ home runs and lead the league in OBP, slugging percentage, and OPS.  

Worry about Houston? No way! If anything, their odds are only going to get shorter as the season goes on. So, if you are going to put some money down on them, you may want to do so now.

The Dodgers will not be easy to beat, and the Yankees are not going to go down without a fight. But if everyone is healthy come playoff time, the Houston Astros will be a great bet to win the World Series.