Stop me if you have heard this before: the Astros won a game thanks to a combination of timely hitting and solid pitching. That’s usually a winning formula, right?
Friday’s Game 3 at Minute Maid Park represented a huge opportunity for the Astros. A win would allow Houston a chance to take their first World Series victory at Home lead the Dodgers two games to one.
Needless to say, the Astros didn’t disappoint.
Lance McCullers provided the Astros with 5.1 innings of three-run ball. Of course, he only allowed one run before Brad Peacock allowed both of his inherited runners to score.
Oh, Peacock. He’s another major reason that the team won last night. His 3.2 innings of relief, and the save, allowed the Astros to take Game 3 without having to lean on a less-than-reliable bullpen.
Then there was the Astros’ offense, which scored four runs off of Yu Darvish before the second inning was over. In fact, Darvish didn’t even make it past the second inning. That was relatively unexpected as Darvish pitched quite well in the first two rounds of the playoffs for the Dodgers.
The offense, in general, generated runs in a big way. Yuli Gurriel got the scoring started with a solo home run against Darvish. Before too long, it was 4-0 Astros lead. It was encouraging to see the lineup generate quality contact and hard hit balls.
Thanks to the combined efforts of McCullers, Peacock and the lineup, the Astros came away with a crucial 5-3 victory over a very good Dodgers team. Let me repeat that again: the Dodgers are a very good team. I still think that they are arguably the best team in baseball. The past two games have simply been impressive an performance from the Astros.
Back to Gurriel for a moment.
As you all know by now, the Astros’ first baseman was caught on camera making a racially insensitive gesture about Darvish. And that is not okay. Not in the slightest.
A suspension and/or a fine are the likely punishments. The question is now the timing of the suspension, if it is indeed handed down. While the Astros need Gurriel in the World Series, Major League Baseball should be consistent in their punishment in line with other similar incidents in the past. If this means that Gurriel has to miss any of the World Series games, well, so be it. If the punishment fits the crime, then I am for it. Regardless of the team I actively root for.
On the other side, Darvish has handled the situation quite well.
Kudos to Darvish for taking the high road with Gurriel. He seems like an understanding and classy individual. Believe it or not, but Darvish did donate money to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort following his trade to the Dodgers. That’s a good gesture that we in Houston won’t forget anytime soon.
But like Darvish said, we are all human and no one is perfect. You. Me. Darvish. And Gurriel. I know I have said and done things that I regret. Gurriel made a mistake and he deserves what he gets. I hope he continues to apologize and express genuine regret. Then we can move on. This reminds me of a lesson my father taught me that rings more true with each passing year, “Treat people the way you want to be treated”. I think that is sound advice in a moment like this.
**Statistics courtesy of MLB.com**