Perhaps the best part of sports is rivalries. It’s one thing to not like playing a team, it’s another for the teams to truly despise each other. Some of the most famous rivalries in sports include the Yankees vs Red Sox, Packers vs Bears, and Lakers vs Kings. Rivalries make sports more interesting, they make the players play harder, and unite fanbases against one another. Every team has a rival, but in the Astros case they have five, and here they are.
5. Astros vs Braves
Despite rarely playing against each other in recent years, the Braves and Astros used to be rivals in the playoffs. Once both of these teams left the Dodger-ruled NL West, they faced off in the playoffs numerous times. The Braves held the advantage over the Astros in the 90s, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that Houston would start to turn the tide.
The Astros would beat the Braves in 2004 in a best of five series and again in 2005 during an 18 inning thriller that ended with a Chris Burke walk-off homerun. The rivalry would slowly disappear in the years to come, with Houston eventually moving to the American League.
It wouldn’t be until 2021 that both teams would meet again in the playoffs, this time in the World Series. Atlanta would go on to win the series in six games over Houston. These teams meet again in the regular season this year for a three game series in Atlanta that is sure to be a great series.
4. Astros vs Rangers
Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned state rivalry? That is exactly what this matchup between the Rangers and Astros is every year. These two teams battle every year for the Silver Boot trophy awarded to the winner of the season series, which has belonged to Houston every year since 2017. Although these teams have never met in the playoffs, nor have both been competitive at the same time (Rangers haven’t made the postseason since 2015), it is still fun to watch these in-state rivals go at it.
The Rangers hold the advantage over the Astros with a 125-109 record against Houston all-time, but the Astros have been changing things as of late. Ever since the Astros joined the AL and coincidentally the same division as the Rangers, the Lone Star Series has been more enjoyable since we get to see these teams battle every year.
3. Astros vs Yankees
This particular rivalry didn’t officially become a rivalry until the aftermath of the 2017 scandal. These teams meet every year in the regular season and have met three times in the postseason with Houston holding a 3-0 record against New York all-time in the playoffs (2015,17,19).
The Astros-Yankees rivalry has become fun to watch nowadays as it features the two “vilians” of baseball going at it. This rivalry has had its share of dramatic, with Jose Altuve‘s walk-off home run in the 2019 ALCS, Gerrit Cole’s complete game shutout against the Astros, and much more.
This rivalry has the potential to be number one on this list, but it’s not quite there yet, there’s still room for growth in the future.
2. Astros vs Dodgers
Before the aftermath of the 2017 World Series and scandal, the Astros and Dodgers once competed in the National League West division, with the Dodgers winning the division seven times compared to the Astros one. The two teams played in a best of five series in 1981 due to a strike in which the first-half division winner and second-half division winner would face off. The Dodgers would eventually win the series in five games after the Astros blew a 2-0 series lead.
These two clubs wouldn’t meet in the postseason again until they met on the biggest stage, the World Series. The Astros won the series in seven games over L.A. to win their first title in franchise history. Three years later in 2020, it would be revealed that the Astros used an illegal sign-stealing scheme during the 2017 season, which immediately sparked a flame between these two teams. They would meet again in 2020 in a game in which L.A. pitcher Joe Kelly (who was a part of a cheating 2018 Red Sox team) purposely threw at the head of Alex Bregman and made his famous “pouty face” after striking out Carlos Correa as he walked off the mound which sparked a dugout clearing incident.
Since the scandals’ reveal, these two teams haven’t been entirely fond of one another, and even though they only play every now and then since they’re in two separate leagues, it’s always a big game when Houston and Los Angeles play.
1. Astros vs Cardinals
Probably the most well-known rival to the Astros, the Cardinals have been a thorn in the Astros side throughout their history. These two teams battled for the NL Central title from 1994 to 2013 when the Astros made the jump to the AL. The Cardinals won the division six times as opposed to Houston’s four.
The rivalry reached its peak in 2004-05 when both clubs met in the National League Championship Series. The Cardinals would win in 04, with the Astros winning in 05. Perhaps the biggest moment from these series came during Game Five of the 2005 NLCS when Cardinals’ star Albert Pujols hit a towering three-run home run against Astros closer Brad Lidge.
Even though it’s been years since these two have been in the same division, it’s always a blast to relive the history between these teams. Much like the Braves, the Astros will also face St. Louis this season in a must-see matchup.
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