Astros: Foot on the throat time
This may seem like a Debbie Downer post, but despite the Astros wonderful, dominant 8-2 bookend wins over the Boston Red Sox, they have a lot of work to do.
It is critical that the Astros step on their opponent’s throats right away. They don’t need to give the Sox any life in this series. They don’t need to bobble game three and/or four and hobble into the next round tired or out of sorts. And they really don’t need to start the next series with anyone, but Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel as their Game 1 and 2 starters.
Think back to 2005 when the Pujols home run forced the Astros to use Roy Oswalt to finish off the Cards rather than start the World Series against the White Sox. Did it change the ultimate outcome? We will never know.
There is praise to be handed out after two solid home wins by the good guys.
- Alex Bregman made his first playoff swing of the bat count as he gave the team a 1-0 lead two batters into the first game.
- Jose Altuve was not Jose Altuve when the Astros played the Royals in the 2015 ALDS. His 3 for 22 performance stuck in his craw for a long time. This time his unbelievable 3 HR first game and 5 for 7 performance through the first two games should have cleared that craw.
- Verlander and Keuchel were good, not great through their first games. However, looking around at the starting pitching carnage throughout the playoff teams, they had the best two teammate starts to date.
- Carlos Correa and George Springer played outside the festivities of the first game, but came back strong in the second game to help salt that game away.
- Marwin Gonzalez‘s 2 run double may have been the biggest hit in the opening win and Evan Gattis has continued his late season solid hitting.
- Josh Reddick continues to go contrary to his career numbers and is hitting left handed pitchers in the playoffs as he did during the season.
- The bullpen gave up a single run in a solid 6.1 IP of work.
- A.J. Hinch did a masterful job of getting a bunch of his playoff newbies game time and the team should be rested and ready going forward.
So, bottomline, the Astros need to go to Boston, whip a dog who is down and move on to the next round of the playoffs.