After two amazing starts by the Houston Astros pitching staff giving up only two and three runs in Games 3 and 4 the question remains, where is the Astros hitting that has been so prominent this postseason?
Prior to the World Series, the Astros lineup averaged almost seven runs per contest and hit well above average with runners in scoring position. Now for the World Series, they are averaging below three runs a game.
It’s now or never for the Houston team that has overcome injuries to make it back to the fall classic, so some lineup changes are in order.
Here’s a proposed new Astros’ lineup for Game 5 of the World Series.
The top three in the lineup really start the game off strong for the Astros, and while Altuve has been streaky and hit well last night, his performances have not been up to his historical standards. That said, both he and Brantley have hit and could start the Astros off on a good foot.
The true issue with the Astros lineup to date has come from the third position, as Alex Bregman has had a forgettable World Series with only one hit to date. His at bats have produced nothing but routine pop flies and simple ground outs with nothing to show for it.
Bregman needs to be dropped to the seven-hole, and Yuli Gurriel needs to move up to the third spot. Gurriel, the American League batting champion, has not gotten as many at-bats in as the top half of the lineup this series due to their lack of production, so his impact has been limited.
Gurriel could provide a needed boost to the lineup in the three-hole getting more at bats and more situations with runners on base.
Spots four through six have been up and down and missed opportunities abounded last nights with the Astros leaving 10 runners stranded on base and this part of the lineup was partially to blame.
With the bases juiced in the first, the Astros managed just one run in what could have been a huge lead to start Game 4. Carlos Correa’s ground out RBI was the only run scored with both Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker striking out.
After Alvarez’s monster ALCS, his bat has been quiet hitting just .091 for the World Series. Alvarez following Bregman’s .071 average in the lineup has all but guaranteed the Atlanta Braves two outs in the heart of the Astros lineup. Things need to change.
As for the end of the Astros lineup, Gurriel has been the bright spot hitting .231 with a .564 OPS and he has reached base safety in all but one game this Series. Gurriel’s impact has been handicapped by the lack of bats behind him.
Yesterday, he was intentionally walked twice to get to the pitchers spot and so he could not see favorable pitches to hit runners in. Putting Gurriel in the three-hole will guarantee he sees more pitches as opposing pitchers won’t pass him up to put more runners on for Correa.
Martin Maldonado has been less than effective the whole postseason at the plate, but last night, he did make solid contact on a few at bats, garnering one hit.
Maldonado needs to stay at eight and the pitcher at nine to ensure he would at least have some shot of driving in any runners on base if given the opportunity. With Alvarez and Bregman moved down to the six and seven spots, they both should get more hittable pitches, and Alvarez should have chances to drive in runs from the top of the order.
One thing remains sure through all of this, the bats need to wake up or else the Astros will be sent packing. If the Astros can score six or seven runs they should win the rest of their games and take back the championship.