Houston, we have a problem! This is the phrase that astronaut Jack Swigert is said to have shouted when he saw a warning light accompanied by an explosion on Apollo XIII’s instrument panel. It has become iconic and is even used in the world of sports.
And what a problem the Houston Astros are in, who may still miss the Playoffs. The current champions were swept by the Kansas City Royals, they lost first place in the American League West and their schedule was never easy.
They currently hold the last wild card in the American League, although if they can do so they will have to face two important tests in the final week of the season, where they will face the Seattle Mariners and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Astros currently sit a game and a half behind the Texas Rangers, who have taken advantage of two losses in Houston to lead their division. The problem is that the Seattle Mariners, the Astros’ opponent next week, are half a game behind the champions.
The last time the Astros didn’t make the Playoffs
Those led by Dusty Baker have gone through a bad series of games in the last 11 games and their presence in the Playoffs is at risk. They have a 3-8 record in their last 11 games, losing their series against the Baltimore Orioles, the Kansas City Royals (twice) and the Oakland Athletics.
We have to go back to 2016 to find out the last time the Astros were eliminated from the Playoffs. They depend on the Mariners, but also on themselves. Houston can’t afford to go on a streak or they won’t be able to defend their title.
“You go around and people are nervous and negative, you have to protect yourself from the negative and focus on the positive. We have to get rid of the bad vibe because it’s the only thing that helps us move forward,” said Dusty Baker after the loss to the Royals on Saturday.