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There’s no other way to put it, the Houston Astros, the best team in the American League, didn’t do enough Monday as Major League Baseball’s trade deadline passed. That’s not just our opinion — though, we did put them in the undesirable half of our winners and losers column — it’s also the opinion of Astros ace Dallas Keuchel, who expressed his disappointment Tuesday to reporters.
The Astros are 69-36, which gives them a 16-game lead in the AL West entering August. But they’re not playing for the division, which is pretty much theirs, they’re playing for the big prize — the World Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers have a 14-game lead and that didn’t stop them from making a trade-deadline splash with their acquisition of Yu Darvish.
The Astros? Well, they could have used help both in their rotation and their bullpen. They have plenty of prospects to make a move, but instead, went conservative and traded for veteran lefty Francisco Liriano and his 5.88 ERA. Liriano is versatile enough to pitch from the rotation or the bullpen, but that definitely wasn’t enough to make Keuchel feel good about things.
Here’s what he had to say Monday via MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart:
The key part is this:
“I’m not going to lie. Disappointment is a little bit of an understatement. I feel like a bunch of teams really bolstered their rosters for the long haul and for a huge playoff push. Us just kind of staying pat was really disappointing.”
That’s a rare bit of brutal honesty from a franchise face like Keuchel, who is having another season that should at least earn him some Cy Young votes. While the Astros have been great this season, a string of recent injuries has brought about more questions about their postseason readiness. Carlos Correa, George Springer and Lance McCullers Jr. are among the injured Astros at the moment.
Plenty of times we’ve seen teams run away with their divisions only to get knocked out of the playoffs early, so it’s not strange to see a team like the Dodgers gear up for the postseason. The Astros, however, took a different route.
Disappointment doesn’t mean that Keuchel has any less faith in his team. Don’t get it misconstrued.
“We believe we’re good enough to win now and get to the World Series,” Keuchel said. “Good teams can always be great and great teams can always be legendary.”
Legendary ain’t a bad goal.
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