Astros ALDS Game 2 takeaway 3 –Houston had some luck with both the strike zone and hard hit balls going right at their fielders
While game two was a victory for the Astros, there were plenty of close calls that nearly turned the game on its head. Oddly enough one of the two runs the Mariners scored was on a soft chopper back at Framber Valdez.
But the Mariners had some hard hits late such as the aforementioned inning ending line drive in the seventh by Eugenio Suarez and the near miss of a two run home run by Jarred Kelenic.
Ryan Pressly also ran into some good fortune as he started off the ninth inning with a four pitch walk to the Mariners number eight hitter Adam Frazier.
The Astros held Frazier on which ended up working out as had they been playing behind him J.P. Crawford’s line out that resulted in a double play would have been a double down the line that would have made the situation at least second and third with no one out and Julio Rodriguez coming to the plate.
Instead it was two outs with no one on and Rodriguez drove a ball to the left center field gap for a harmless double that didn’t amount to anything in the end.
Beyond that Rafael Montero had plenty of luck with the strike zone in the seventh and the eighth inning. During his at-bat to Ty France that ended in a walk Montero threw six pitches. All of them were out of the zone.
Yet despite Ty France not swinging he still faced a 3-2 count and the widened zone was established.
Come the eighth inning Montero got more luck in an at-bat against Carlos Santana that also resulted in a walk where he got a called strike on a changeup well below the zone. It set up his strikeout of Cal Raleigh which was a called strike three on a change up yet again below the zone.
Last but not least was Jeremy Pena’s flair that just happened to find some green space in between Julio Rodriguez and Adam Frazier. Despite the weak contact the Astros caught a break with it being placed in just the right spot.
The old saying is that you need to be good in the playoffs but you also need a little bit of luck. A ball bouncing your way or a line drive that results in a double play rather than an extra base hit is the kind of luck a team needs to win in the topsy turvy world of playoff baseball.
The Astros can’t expect such luck in game three but fortunately they’re talented enough to make the most of their opportunities.
It’ll be interesting to see how the team responds to the Seattle crowd and how Dusty Baker chooses to deploy the bullpen given he didn’t like his odds with a rested Ryne Stanek and chose Rafael Montero for four outs instead.
What is known is that the Astros for now are relying primarily on Jeremy Pena, Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman to get big hits. It’ll be interesting to see if they can continue to win with just those three contributing a majority of the offense or if other bats will need to come to life to complete the series in Seattle.
Game three is Saturday at 3:07 p.m. CT.