Houston Astros: The Good and the Bad Heading to the ALCS
The Houston Astros’ bullpen gave up one run in 20.1 innings pitched winning the series for them.
Home run heroics will always get the attention hence why Yordan Alvarez and Jeremy Pena will be the highlights shown whenever we look back on this series.
But make no mistake, the Astros bullpen was the MVP. Their ERA was 0.44 over three games, the lone run being a solo shot off Cristian Javier back in the seventh inning of game one.
If the Astros bullpen wasn’t unanimously considered the best in baseball going into the postseason, they certainly should be now.
While the vaunted bullpens of the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers were blowing leads late in their respective games on Saturday, the Astros bullpen went 12 innings locking down the Mariners offense.
Nothing shows how deep and powerful the Astros bullpen is then the fact that they have several multi-inning relievers including two starters in Luis Garcia and Jose Urquidy who on any other team would be in the playoff rotation.
The fact the Astros were able to get the equivalent of a second game pitched by Luis Garcia in extra innings is the advantage Houston has over any other team. Look at the pitching lines from Garcia and McCullers Jr. in game three.
McCullers Jr.: Six innings pitched, two hits, two walks, seven strikeouts, no runs.
Garcia: Five innings pitched, two hits, no walks, six strikeouts, no runs.
The Astros essentially got two quality starts in the same game.
This will only serve them better in a longer series where now they know if the bullpen is drained they could bring in Garcia to pitch three or four innings to close a game out and rest their one inning relievers.
It will be especially important given the fact that there is only a solitary day off in this LCS due to the lockout at the beginning of the year.
Suffice to say the Astros regular season strength remained a strength in the postseason and then some. Now to the bad news.