If the Astros want to bounce the Red Sox from the postseason, then productivity from a couple of star players is close to necessary.
When one thinks of the Astros‘ offense, most, if not all, people automatically think of Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman. Those guys are considered the ‘core four’ of Houston’s current roster. Although the ALCS is only two games old, only Springer (1.367 OPS) and Bregman (1.708 OPS) out of the four have stepped up in significant ways this entire postseason. For Altuve (.701) and Correa (.717 OPS), quality production has yet to become present, or at least consistent.
It is quite apparent that the Astros are a better team when Altuve and Correa produce as they’ve historically shown. For example, Altuve has a .910 OPS in Astros victories, but only a .681 OPS in losses. Correa has a .844 OPS in team wins and a .521 in losses. If one or both players hit well, the team has a greater chance of winning. Not exactly an earth-shattering tidbit, but it makes sense. After all, Altuve and Correa, when healthy, are considered one of the best at their respective positions.
That said, I’d caution that we don’t read too much into small samples in the postseason. Players can easily find themselves into hot streaks or swoons. Unfortunately, postseason series are composed of small samples, and a bad stretch from multiple players can lead to a team’s dismissal. This issue is facing the Astros as the series returns to Houston for Game 3. While we know the history of Altuve and Correa, there isn’t a guarantee they’ll turn it around. But the same can be said for the opposite.
To Correa’s credit though, he has a higher expected wOBA (.356 xwOBA) in the postseason than actual wOBA (.329). But Altuve has outperformed his xwOBA (.260) than his actual wOBA (.304), which is encouraging and discouraging at the same time. Then there is the exit velocity.
Carlos Correa – 87.9 MPH in 13 results
Jose Altuve – 83.5 MPH in 18 results
Again, small sample size, but it is worth thinking about for the rest of the ALCS.
Could the Astros win the ALCS without a productive Altuve and Correa? Sure, they could, but the chances are lower under such a development. The pitching staff is still strong despite a rough start by Gerrit Cole in Game 2. The rest of the lineup could pick up the slack. And I am curious to see if Altuve receives any playing time at DH. But I am quite sure that Houston would love to see Altuve and Correa pick up steam soon, preferably by Tuesday.