Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks Battle for Victory
The Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks, both already qualified for the postseason, have one final game of the regular season to prove their worth. Despite recent losses, the Diamondbacks managed to secure a playoff spot thanks to a defeat by Cincinnati. On the other hand, the Astros have been performing well, winning four of their last five games and securing their place in the final phase of October for the seventh time.
Both teams have additional motivations to win. Arizona aims to climb to the second wild card spot, while the Astros strive to win the American League West Division. However, their success also depends on the outcomes of the Marlins and Rangers’ games, respectively.
Houston Astros Eye Division Title
The Houston Astros, reaching the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, have the opportunity to conquer the top of their division. A victory against the Diamondbacks, combined with a defeat of the Texas Rangers against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, would grant them the division title. In this scenario, the Astros and Rangers would have identical records of 90-72, but Houston would hold the tiebreaker by winning the series between them nine games to four.
Implications of the Matchup
The American League West champion will earn the second seed and secure a first-round bye in the postseason, while the division runner-up will have to play an extra round. The stakes are high for both teams as they battle for a favorable position in the playoffs.
Christian Javier to Lead the Houston Astros
The Houston Astros will rely on right-hander Cristian Javier (9-5, 4.73 ERA) on Sunday, facing left-hander Kyle Nelson (7-3, 3.88 ERA) of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Javier has a strong track record against the Diamondbacks, with a 1-0 record and a 2.51 ERA in four career games. Nelson, on the other hand, has only pitched two-thirds of a scoreless inning against the Astros in his career.
Exciting Offensive Performances
Two standout offensive players to watch in this matchup are Yordan Alvarez of the Astros and Christian Walker of the Diamondbacks. Alvarez has hit 101 home runs since the start of the 2021 season, making him the Astros’ most prolific hitter in a three-year span since Lance Berkman’s 108 home runs between 2006 and 2008. Meanwhile, Walker has hit 69 home runs since the start of the 2022 season, placing him among the top first basemen in terms of home runs during that period.