The Houston Astros are going to the postseason for the fourth consecutive season. The Astros clinched a spot in the expanded 16-team postseason field Friday night despite a walk-off loss to the Rangers (TEX 5, HOU 4). They clinched a spot because the Angels dropped their game to the Dodgers a little later on (LAD 9, LAA 5).
"We have to come back and play hard and win tomorrow," Astros manager Dusty Baker told reporters, including MLB.com's Brian McTaggart following Friday's game, refusing to look too far ahead.
For Baker, this year's postseason berth is historic. He is now the first manager in baseball history to lead five different teams to the postseason. Baker had previously taken the Giants (1997, 2000, 2002), Cubs (2003), Reds (2010, 2012, 2013), and Nationals (2016, 2017) to the the playoffs.
This is Baker's first season with the Astros. He replaced A.J. Hinch, who was suspended one year and later fired for his role in the team's sign-stealing scandal. Baker, now 71, recently had his contract option picked up for 2021, so he won't be a one-and-done skipper with Houston.
Baker is in his 23rd season as a big league manager and his 1,892 wins are 15th most all-time. His career .532 winning percentage (1,892-1,664) is also one of the highest in history. Despite all his success, Baker has never won the World Series as a manager. He took the Giants to Game 7 of the 2002 World Series but couldn't seal the deal.
Long before he became a manager, Baker was a heck of a ballplayer, hitting .278/.347/.432 with 1,981 hits and 242 home runs with four teams from 1968-86. He went to the postseason three times as a player and won his only career World Series ring with the 1981 Dodgers.