4 reasons for the Astros to be optimistic ahead of Game 3 of the ALDS

While the Astros lost home-field advantage in the ALDS after dropping Game 2, Houston still has plenty of reasons for optimism heading into Game 3.
Division Series - Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros - Game Two
Division Series - Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros - Game Two / Bob Levey/GettyImages
3 of 4

#3: Cristian Javier looks like he is back

The 2023 season has been a nightmare for Cristian Javier. Fresh off of a dominant postseason in 2022 and a new contract extension this offseason, hopes were high for Javier in 2023. Some pegged him as an AL Cy Young candidate.

He responded with a 4.56 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. After posting a 2.54 ERA with the lowest opponent batting average against in baseball last year, needless to say he underachieved.

But whatever issues were ailing Javier under the hood seem to have been addressed. The mechanical issue impacting his arm angle and diminished velo appear fixed.

Since Javier's last four starts, he's got a 3.05 ERA and 14.3 SwStr%. Those numbers are eerily similar to 2022, when Javier had a 13.8 SwStr%. As Javier battled all of his flaws in the middle of the season, he was getting almost no swing and miss. In those four games, he's allowed only two home runs.

He struck out 11 Orioles in a must-win game in only five innings on September 20th, tying his season high in strikeouts.

If Javier is missing bats and keeping fly balls in the yard, he can be the same pitcher that dominated October in 2022. He looks to be rounding into form at just the right time.