Being down 0-2 in a seven game series is never good, but the Houston Astros did at least have the fact that they have played exceedingly well on the road in 2023 going for them. After a couple of sub=par offense games to start the ALCS, Houston's bats finally woke up and they were able to take down the Rangers by the final score of 8-5.
The Houston pitching staff certainly did their part as well, although the results were a little more mixed there. Cristian Javier went nearly six innings and held the Rangers' offense in check other than Josh Jung who is on quite the tear this postseason. However, Hector Neris and Bryan Abreu had shaky relief appearances before Ryan Pressly came in to close the game out. The offense was the story last night and the Astros are going to need a lot more of THAT if they want to completely turn the ALCS around.
Game Three's offensive outburst was nice, but the lineup is going to have to step up
One should never take getting eight runs in a playoff game for granted, but there are still some troubling trends right now in the Astros' lineup. Yordan Alvarez continues to be great, but some of Houston's top hitters have really struggled in this series. Jose Altuve had two hits including a homer last night, but he is hitting just .200 with a .626 OPS overall in the postseason. Despite reaching base four times last night, Kyle Tucker is even worse overall with a .125 average and .508 OPS. Alex Bregman and Jeremy Pena have both struggled at the plate as well so far.
In short, last night was nice, but Houston has a long ways to go to get back into this thing. This Rangers' team is no joke and there is a real possibility that an explanation for the Astros' success last night was because Max Scherzer was fresh off an injury and was rusty as a result.
Down 2-1 now, the Houston offense has to establish itself against not just the dregs of the Rangers' pitching staff. That means finding ways to keep up with Texas against guys like Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi who have both been pitching their brains out. The first step, though, is winning tonight and with the Rangers starting Andrew Heaney against Jose Urquidy, this is a golden opportunity for the lineup to announce their presence in a big way.