The Houston Astros got their revenge on the Oakland A’s in the ALDS, but not against Mike Fiers.
If there were any doubts about the Houston Astros ability to be the best team on the planet, those doubts pretty much went out the window in this ALDS. The team slugged its way to an 11-6 win on Thursday, capping off a 3-1 series win over the club that’s been harboring convicted rat Mike Fiers.
There were questions about the state of the team’s pitching staff, but Zack Greinke answered the call and took the mound. He wasn’t particularly sharp, allowing four runs in 4.2 innings, all of which came on a pair of homers by Ramon Laureano. But he gave the team some innings when that’s really what they needed most, because the offense took care of the rest.
Oakland starter Frankie Montas cruised through the first three innings but didn’t make it out of the fourth. Michael Brantley got it going with a two-run homer, and Carlos Correa followed with a mammoth three-run blast to give the Astros a lead they’d never relinquish. Brantley homered again in the fifth, Correa drove in runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings, and Jose Altuve capped it off with a two-run homer in the seventh.
Correa went 3-for-4 with five RBIs in this game, finishing the ALDS with a .500 batting average, three homers and 11 RBIs in only four games. The first six hitters in the lineup — George Springer, Altuve, Brantley, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker and Correa — all hit .368 or better for the series, and all but Tucker had an OPS greater than 1.100. That’s what you call mashing.
To Be Continued
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The Astros played a total of 14 games against the A’s this year between the regular season and ALDS. The A’s used 13 of their 14 pitchers in the four-game ALDS. But through all of that, the Astros never did get to face Fiers.
Maybe the A’s were saving him for a possible Game Five, but I suspect they would’ve thrown Chris Bassitt up there on short rest rather than let Fiers get destroyed. With the way the Astros were hitting in this series, I have to wonder if Fiers would have even been able to record an out.
Fiers is 35 and coming off a 4.58 ERA in 11 regular season starts, and he’s due to hit free agency. I suspect some team will probably give him a chance to fill a spot in the back of their rotation, so we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out. Hopefully he’ll land with a team that either can’t hide him against the Astros or simply won’t hide him the way Oakland obviously did this year.
But eliminating Fiers’ team is the next best thing, and the Astros have done that in resounding fashion. Each team hit 12 homers in this series, setting new Division Series records. The Astros will await either the Rays or Yankees in the ALCS, which will begin on Sunday.