Game One of the ALDS was looking like the Astros were going to cruise to an easy victory. They were up 5-0 in the seventh inning and were bringing in one of their best relievers from 2023 to begin to close things out. However, that reliever was Hector Neris and things did not go to plan.
After recording just two outs in the seventh inning of that game, Neris had given up a pair of homers and ended up with four earned runs on three hits as his final line from his only appearance in the series so far. Whether it was the Twins having a great game plan, the distraction of the near Mariners brawl, or good ol' fashioned "baseball is dumb sometimes", Neris' disastrous outing very nearly cost Houston that game.
It is hardly a surprise that Martin Maldonado has failed to contribute at the plate in the postseason. in 407 plate appearances in 2023, Maldonado hit .191 with a .606 OPS making him one of the worst offensive players in all of MLB with at least 400 plate appearances by fWAR ahead of just Jurickson Profar and Enrique Hernández.
However, it was also a mortal lock that Maldonado was going to get the bulk of the playing time behind the plate in the ALDS and the results were predictable as he has failed to record a hit in the series thus far. Maldonado did at least draw a walk in the first game, but one cannot help but wonder if Game Two would have gone differently if Yainer Diaz had gotten Maldonado's at-bats considering what Altuve and Yordan have been doing at the top of the lineup.