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Difficult decisions ahead for postseason roster

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

BALTIMORE -- Astros manager AJ Hinch has been under the weather this week, which he joked is maybe the reason why his players are steering clear of him in the final few days of the season. Or it could be they're anxious about hearing bad news concerning the makeup of the postseason roster.

Hinch will have some difficult decisions to make in the coming days regarding the composition of his postseason roster, which likely won't be announced until Thursday at the earliest. The Astros play host to the Indians in Game 1 of the American League Division Series next Friday.

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BALTIMORE -- Astros manager AJ Hinch has been under the weather this week, which he joked is maybe the reason why his players are steering clear of him in the final few days of the season. Or it could be they're anxious about hearing bad news concerning the makeup of the postseason roster.

Hinch will have some difficult decisions to make in the coming days regarding the composition of his postseason roster, which likely won't be announced until Thursday at the earliest. The Astros play host to the Indians in Game 1 of the American League Division Series next Friday.

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ALDS presented by T-Mobile, Game 1: Fri., 2:05 p.m. ET/1:05 p.m. CT on TBS

"This is the deepest team most of these guys have played on," Hinch said. "They're realists when they understand this is a hard team to crack. I've said that to them in a team meeting. You have to be real with them. They look around and see the numbers and what's possible. Everybody is expecting us to carry 11 pitchers and 14 position players. They're all internal GMs and managers that know how they would do it, and I bet they all put themselves on it."

:: ALDS schedule and results ::

A decision that Hinch could reveal publicly soon is his postseason rotation, though nothing should be a surprise. Houston's four playoff starters -- Gerrit Cole on Friday, Justin Verlander in Game 1 on Saturday, Dallas Keuchel in Game 2 on Saturday and likely Charlie Morton on Sunday -- are set to start the final four games of the season this weekend in Baltimore. Hinch wants them to make it through their last start before he pencils them in for the postseason.

Hinch will have some conversations with some of his position players on Sunday. Like they did last season, the Astros will send some players home, while keeping a few around who aren't on the postseason roster. There will also be a contingent of players that will be sent to West Palm Beach, Fla., to keep in baseball shape in case of an injury. The roster can be reset between each round of the postseason.

Hinch said the final few games of the season likely won't impact the postseason roster.

"You can talk yourself into any configuration when you're putting stuff together," Hinch said. "Obviously, we want to get to the end of the season to make sure everybody is healthy and ready to go. On top of that, I don't think best decision-making will go with if someone gives up a home run or someone throws a shutout inning or someone gets hot with the bat or someone doesn't get a hit.

"The larger body of work and the matchups are going to play out moreso than one thing they do this weekend in a unique environment of playing a Major League game where it's simply the record that's going to be impacted."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

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