Astros Roster and Schedule
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Houston Astros roster and schedule for 2020 season

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The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. Next up: The Houston Astros roster and schedule:

ASTROS ROSTER (projected) 

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Astros roster to begin the season, give or take:

Catchers

Martín Maldonado
Dustin Garneau

Infielders:

Yuli Gurriel
José Altuve
Carlos Correa
Alex Bregman
Aledmys Díaz
Abraham Toro
Yordan Álvarez

Outfielders

Michael Brantley
George Springer
Josh Reddick
Kyle Tucker
Myles Straw

Starters

Justin Verlander
Zack Greinke
Lance McCullers Jr.
Josh James
Framber Valdez
José Urquidy

Relievers

Roberto Osuna
Ryan Pressly
Joe Biagini
Brad Peacock
Chris Devenski
Bryan Abreu
Cy Sneed
Blake Taylor
Cristian Javier
Enoli Paredes
Andre Scrubb
Austin Pruitt


BREAKDOWN:

This is, give or take, the Astros team you have come to know and loathe for most of the past few years. The take is the most significant, as in bye-bye Gerrit Cole, bye-bye manager A.J. Hinch, and bye-bye GM Jeff Luhnow. Hello, however to Dusty Baker who is probably better prepared than anyone to wade into a team that dealt with offseason controversy and keep them all focused on the business on the field.

Cole’s absence will be hard to fill, but Lance McCullers returns after missing last season following Tommy John surgery and should help cushion some of that blow. Less certain is how the Astros will deal with several losses to their pitching staff lately. There are a lot of names listed up there on that roster, but several of them — including Closer Roberto Osuna and fellow right-handers Brad Peacock and Austin Pruitt — are unlikely to be available when the team’s season opens Friday. Baker will have to do a lot of plate-spinning with the pen, at least for a while. Yordan Álvarez’s extended absence will require Baker to use other than his best DH option for some time too.

That aside, this is still the Houston dang Astros, and they still have one of the best starters in the game in Justin Verlander and one of the strongest lineups around. Bregman. Altuve. Correa. Guirriel. They’re who they’ve always been and, while a short season is weird, the Oakland Athletics are always frisky, and the Los Angeles Angels are improved, they are likely more than enough to keep the Astros on top of the AL West for another year.

ASTROS SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

Astros home stands will be July 24-29 (Mariners, Dodgers), August 10-18 (Giants, Mariners, Rockies), August 24-September 3 (Angels, Athletics, Rangers), and September 15-20 (Rangers, Diamondbacks).

The entire Astros roster and schedule can be seen here.

Dodgers clinch NL’s top seed, West title with win over A’s

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Wrapping up an NL West title has become routine for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but in a year in which no one was sure three months ago if there would be a baseball season, manager Dave Roberts wanted his team to still savor the moment.

The Dodgers clinched the NL’s top postseason seed and eighth straight division title Tuesday night with a 7-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics. They are third team to win at least eight straight division titles, joining the Atlanta Braves (14 straight from 1991-2005) and New York Yankees (nine straight from 1998-2006).

“To fast forward a couple months and be crowned NL West champs is a credit to everyone. It should never be taken for granted,” Roberts said. “Truth be told a lot of guys didn’t know we could clinch. We were responsible but I let it know that it has to be appreciated.”

The Dodgers, who own the best record in the majors at 39-16, were the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff berth on Sept. 16. They will open postseason play on Sept. 30 by hosting every game in a best-of-three series against the No. 8 seed.

Los Angeles came into the day with a magic number of two and got help with the Angels’ 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Instead of a wild celebration on the mound after Jake McGee struck out Sean Murphy for the final out, players briskly walked out of the dugout to celebrate with teammates. Everyone grabbed a division clinching shirt and cap before heading to the mound for a group photo.

The clubhouse celebration was also muted. Champagne was still involved, but it was players toasting each other with a glass instead of being showered in it.

“We talked about it instead of dumping stuff on people. It’s a moment you need to celebrate and we did,” said Corey Seager, who had three hits and one of Los Angeles’ four home runs, “It stinks not being able to do champagne and beer showers because some of the younger guys haven’t been able to experience that.”

Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and AJ Pollock also went deep for Los Angeles, which leads the majors with 104 home runs.

“This whole year has been weird. There’s no other way to describe it,” Muncy said. “It’s sad not to be celebrate as usual but we know there is a lot more at stake.”

Dustin May (2-1) went five innings and allowed two runs on three hits. The 22-year-old red-headed righty set a team record by not allowing more than three earned runs in his first 13 career starts, which include 10 this season.

Robbie Grossman homered for Oakland, which clinched its first AL West crown in seven years on Monday during a day off. The Athletics, in the postseason for the third straight year, currently are the AL’s No. 3 seed.

Mark Canha had two of Oakland’s five hits.

Seager tied it at 1 in the first with an RBI single and then led off the fifth with a drive to center off T.J. McFarland to extend LA’s lead to 6-2.

Muncy gave the Dodgers a 3-2 lead in the third inning with a two-run homer. Taylor and Pollock extended it with solo shots in the fourth off Oakland starter Frankie Montas (3-5).

Grossman quickly gave Oakland a 1-0 lead when he homered off the left-field pole in the first inning. Sean Murphy briefly gave the Athletics a 2-1 advantage when he led off the third with a walk and scored on a wild pitch by May with two outs.

Montas, who allowed only four home runs in his first seven starts, has given up six in his past three. The right-hander went four innings and yielded five runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts.

“They’re a pretty good team that when you make mistakes, they make you pay,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “They’re pretty good laying off and making you throw it over the plate. They made Montas pay, unfortunately.”

Cody Bellinger added two hits for the Dodgers, including an RBI single with the bases loaded in the seventh.

ATHLETICS ADVANCE

The A’s have a team text thread they used to celebrate clinching their first AL West title since 2013 during their off day Monday, when the Mariners beat Houston.

“We didn’t really celebrate too much yet. It’s exciting,” Chad Pinder said. “We wanted to do it on our own terms. We still won the division and that was our goal. It’s nice to know we’ll be playing home for the series.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: INF/OF Pinder (strained right hamstring) planned to run at Dodger Stadium and test his leg with hopes of still playing before the conclusion of the regular season. …. RHP Daniel Mengden has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas. He was designated for assignment after being medically cleared and reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list following a positive test from Aug. 28.

Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner was scratched from the lineup less than an hour before first pitch due to left hamstring discomfort He came off the injured list on Sept. 15 and has not played in the field since Aug. 28. … Joc Pederson was in the lineup at DH after missing five games while on the family emergency medical list. Roberts said before the game that he wasn’t sure if Pederson will remain with the team during the entire postseason.

UP NEXT

Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea (4-3, 4.50) is 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA over his last five starts dating to Aug. 20.

Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (3-0, 3.49) will make his team-leading 11th start.

AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this story.

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