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Astros not pleased with brutal travel schedule

Updated 7:24 pm CDT, Thursday, July 18, 2019

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Astros are acutely aware of their upcoming terrible travel. Talk has surrounded this hellish stretch for a while, but it finally arrived on Thursday at Angel Stadium, where the first pitch of this series finale against the Angels was at 8:07 p.m. CT.

When it ended, an hour-long drive to Los Angeles International Airport awaited before a three and a half hour flight. The Astros’ travel agenda estimated the team will arrive back in Houston at 5:15 a.m. CT on Friday.

Fourteen hours later, at 7:05 p.m. on Friday, the Astros will open a three-game divisional series against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park.

“To censor myself, it’s BS. I don’t think one person is happy about the night game travel,” Josh Reddick said. “I think it’s a complete misjudgement on how they make a schedule. It’s absurd, really. Look at us, we don’t do that to anyone. We don’t ever give them a (getaway day) night game unless it’s Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. It makes no sense. It really makes no sense. A lot of guys aren’t happy about it, myself included.”

Normally, home teams set their own schedule and game times. As Reddick intimated, national television sometimes interferes and causes situations like these. Thursday’s game was not carried on any national network.

The sport’s current collective bargaining agreement, which expires in 2021, states the latest possible start time for getaway day games “shall be determined by taking the portion of the in-flight time that exceeds 2 1/2 hours, and subtracting that amount of time from 7 p.m.” Hence, Thursday’s game started at 6 p.m. PT.

“It’ll be brutal,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “It’s one of those things that I hope they address in the next CBA … Other teams do it — we’re not the only one — so it’s more of a broader topic across the league. Especially in our division (for) teams that are coming back to Texas, it’s brutal.”

The Astros flew Friday night starter Justin Verlander back to Houston early — customary practice regardless of travel circumstances. The team would have done the same for a Saturday starter, too, but Houston does not have one.

“It’s on our schedule,” Hinch said. “We’re going to play and we need to win. We’re going to play our normal guys (Friday) and I’ll address any sort of rest over the weekend.”

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