Astros are now in must-win mode for the ALCS
By Cody Poage
An early 2-0 series lead in the ALCS has evaporated in just three days for the Astros.
There is no doubt that the Astros are a good baseball team. You don’t win 101 games by accident. But that doesn’t mean you are immune from a prolonged slump.
Unfortunately for the Astros, they are currently in the midst of one during the postseason.
Thanks to concurrent ineptitude from the lineup and the pitching staff, Houston now finds itself in must-win territory for the remainder of the ALCS. Once a 2-0 series lead has quickly turned into a 3-2 advantage for the Yankees following a 5-0 defeat on Wednesday.
If there is any positive thoughts to reflect upon, the Astros will have Justin Verlander starting in Game 6. Remember that Verlander was the same pitcher who provided Houston with nine innings of one-run ball in their Game 2 victory. If Game 6 goes the Houston’s way, then Game 7 will also be held in Minute Maid Park. And anything goes during Game 7.
I must caution, though, that the Astros must’ve felt confident with Dallas Keuchel on the mound for Game 6. And we just witnessed how that outcome unfolded.
Regardless of the starting pitcher in Game 6, Houston’s lineup must generate some semblance of an actual offense on Friday. Specifically from a batter not name Yuli Gurriel.
Since Game 3 of the ALDS in Boston, the Astros have seemingly fallen on tough times in terms of offense. The hit totals for each game since Game 3 at Fenway Park is quite sobering.
- 13; Game 3 ALDS
- 12; Game 4 ALDS
- 6; Game 1 ALCS
- 5; Game 2 ALCS
- 4; Game 3 ALCS
- 3; Game 4 ALCS
- 4; Game 5 ALCS
While I do not prefer to use batting average as a meaningful indicator, here is the batting average of each batter who partook in the Game 5 action.
- Carlos Correa: .263
- Jose Altuve: .278
- George Springer: .111
- Josh Reddick: .000
- Yuli Gurriel: .235
- Alex Bregman: .118
- Carlos Beltran: .083
- Marwin Gonzalez: .133
- Brian McCann: .000
Unless you have a rotation and bullpen like the 2005 Astros, well, you probably aren’t going to advance. Heck, the 2005 team were much more effective in their LCS than the 2017 edition. At least from what I can recall from memory, which may or may not be accurate.
Next: Astros: The ALCS is now a three-game series
The Astros face an uphill climb to earn their second World Series berth in franchise history. At least one game will be at home. Game 7, if Houston wins Game 6, will also be at Minute Maid Park. If there is ever time to show up, well, this is now the time. Astros, you are now on the clock.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and MLB.com**