After keeping Game Six of the ALCS reasonably close for a while, the Houston Astros fell apart late and ultimately lost to the Rangers 9-2 on Sunday evening. The Astros had some prime scoring opportunities late in the game including loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but failed to score a run. The Rangers, however, capitalized on their bases loaded opportunity in top of the ninth thanks to an Adolis Garcia grand slam to turn the game into a rout.
In a vacuum, one bad result doesn't look like much. Framber Valdez was perfectly reasonable through five innings and sometimes a good offense can steal games from you. However, with the loss, every single game (so far) in the ALCS has been won by the road team. Not only is that really weird on the face of it, but it also doesn't bode well for Houston with Game Seven coming up.
Road team dominance in the ALCS is bad news for the Astros
It was well-established coming into the postseason that Houston has been very good on the road in 2023. Their 51-30 record this year away from Minute Maid Park was one of the best road marks in all of baseball this season and was cause for optimism in the playoffs as being able to steal tough road games has typically been a formula for success in the postseason. However, the ALCS has been a bit...extreme when it comes to home/road splits to say the least.
After playing under .500 at home in 2023, the Astros have lost every single home game against the Rangers in this series. For whatever reason, the offense has been very subpar in these games with the pitching being a mixed bag. Sure, it is possible that this being an in-state series has meant that Rangers fans have traveled well and negated home field advantage somewhat, but what we have seen in the ALCS has been downright weird.
Whatever the cause may be, the Astros are going to have to figure out how to win at least one home game if they want to make it to another World Series and that means they need some players to step up quickly. Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez can't carry the load by themselves and with a very vulnerable looking Max Scherzer on the mound for Texas, guys who have struggled this postseason like Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman, and Jeremy Pena are going to need to contribute. If not, this road team dominance trend could hold and Houston could be heading home in a far worse sense of the word.