Houston Astros: The Good and the Bad Heading to the ALCS
Jose Altuve had the worst postseason series of his career against the Seattle Mariners in the American League Division Series.
The worst postseason series in Jose Altuve’s career was his first full one in the 2015 American League Division series against the Kansas City Royals going 3-for-22 with two runs and one RBI.
That has now been topped by his 2022 ALDS performance against the Mariners. Altuve was held hitless in 17 at-bats including going 0 for 8 in game three.
What’s worse is that he looked lost at the plate chasing pitches way out of the zone striking out six times against one walk. Even in that 2015 ALDS he only struck out twice in those 22 at bats.
The Mariners clearly had a plan against Altuve that they executed about as well as you can against the former MVP. It’s possible the five days off affected Altuve as he was hot as a hitter can get going into the postseason batting .356 in the final 28 games of the season with six home runs, 27 runs scored and 14 walks against 14 strikeouts.
While the Astros won despite Altuve’s lack of presence at the top of the lineup the odds of them continuing to win with him going hitless is quite the long shot.
It may be bizarre to say that perhaps facing the Yankees could turn Altuve around. For whatever reason he has a penchant for big hits against them starting with the 2019 walk off home run in the ALCS that sent the Astros to the World Series.
In 2021 he hit a game winning three-run home run in Yankee stadium on his birthday. A month and a half later he smashed a devastating a three run walk off home run at Minute Maid Park against those same Yankees in the final game before the All-Star break.
At this point Altuve knows what to expect when he goes into Yankee stadium. He’s visited multiple times since the revelation of the cheating scandal so he’s heard it all at this point. As soon as the Yankees advanced past the Cleveland Guardians in five games last night they immediately began with “F*** Altuve” chants. Classy as always.
That said those chants have never seemed to slow Altuve down before, so why would they start affecting him now? Whatever is ailing Altuve’s plate discipline and swing should be rectified quickly as he is one of the most talented hitters to ever play the game.
Or at least it hopefully will be because if not the Astros will be in serious trouble in the ALCS.