Houston Astros: The Good and the Bad Heading to the ALCS

Joe Fernandez
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 15: Jeremy Pena #3,Alex Bregman #2, Christian Vazquez #9, Yordan Alvarez #44 and Chas McCormick #20 of the Houston Astros celebrate after defeating the Seattle Mariners 1-0 in game three of the American League Division Series at T-Mobile Park on October 15, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 15: Jeremy Pena #3,Alex Bregman #2, Christian Vazquez #9, Yordan Alvarez #44 and Chas McCormick #20 of the Houston Astros celebrate after defeating the Seattle Mariners 1-0 in game three of the American League Division Series at T-Mobile Park on October 15, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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Jeremy Pena and Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros celebrate a home run
Jeremy Pena #3 of the Houston Astros reacts with Alex Bregman #2 after hitting a solo home run during the eighteenth inning against the Seattle Mariners in game three of the American League Division Series at T-Mobile Park on October 15, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

Jeremy Pena, Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman were almost exclusively the Astros offense in the ALDS.

If there’s an MVP-A and MVP-B for the first round series the Astros had against the Mariners, it’s the bullpen and the middle of the Astros’ batting order.

It’s amazing and concerning all at once how many of the Astros runs this series depended on those three hitters. Eleven of the Astros’ 13 RBI this series were from those three. And of those 11 RBI ,six of them were Alvarez or Bregman driving in Pena. Pena was another one driving himself in with the game winning solo shot in game three meaning seven of the 13 runs scored this series relied on three batters working off each other.

It’s not good if more than half your runs come from only a third of your lineup and it’s certainly not sustainable in the postseason. They’ll need backup if they want to advance further.

Gurriel’s bat seems to be back which is a positive sign. Even the times he made an out he hit the ball extremely hard.

He nearly was the Astros hero in the top of the 16th smashing a ball into the right center field gap that according to Statcast had a 10 percent catch probability which Julio Rodriguez turned into 100 percent catch probability with his incredible speed.

Kyle Tucker had a rather unimpressive series going four for 15 with seven strikeouts against one walk. He did have the solo shot in game two that got the Astros on the board first but beyond that he has not looked great at the plate.

It will be interesting to see if Gurriel slides into the five spot of the lineup to then get on base in front of Tucker’s power and behind Alex Bregman’s strong on-base skills. It would also revert the Astros back to the left-right-left alternating lineup.

Gurriel’s lack of power may keep the Astros from making that change. Regardless the Astros could use some other players to wake up. Specifically the little big man.

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