Last night saw an all too familiar result play out for the 2023 Astros--an embarrassing loss at home. Now, the Rangers are a very good baseball team. Losing to them as a whole isn't embarrassing in its own right, but the way in which the Astros lost was quite pathetic.
They wasted a fantastic start from Justin Verlander, squared up virtually zero baseballs, refused to work deep in counts against Jordan Montgomery, and committed an inexcusable base running blunder.
Hope isn't lost, as time after time we've seen this team dig themselves out of a hole. Let's look at the four keys to the Astros winning ALCS Game 2.
#1: Kyle Tucker needs to wake up
Earth to King Tuck. Anybody home? Kyle Tucker is going to likely finish in the top-five of AL MVP voting. He had an absolutely monstrous season, finishing one home run shy of a 30/30 season.
He's also been a ghost at the plate so far in the playoffs.
Tucker is 2-18 so far. Both of his hits are singles and he's driven in only one run. Tucker did damage all year in the heart of the Astros order, leading the AL in RBI. Right now the only thing Tucker is damaging is the Astros chances of winning.
In order for Houston to bounce back, they're going to need signs of life from Kyle Tucker. He really hasn't squared up a baseball yet in the postseason. As the Rangers appear set to repeatedly pound Yordan Alvarez inside and force somebody else to beat them, Kyle Tucker needs to do so.