Playoffs 2018: The week in review, the week ahead

The week of 10-1 through 10-7 in review
The Astros only played two games this week and they played them brilliantly, getting out of the gate with a super solid “play from ahead” 7-2 win on Friday afternoon and following it up with a tough come from behind 3-1 win on Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in their best of five series with the Cleveland Indians. They got great pitching, timely hitting and did not boot the ball around in either game.

The week of 10-8 through 10-14 in a preview
The Astros know they will play a range of games this week. They could finish off the ALDS with a win Monday behind Dallas Keuchel at Cleveland. If not then, they must win either Tuesday’s game on the road or Wednesday’s game at home, if necessary, to move on to the ALCS starting Saturday and Sunday. If the Astros make it to the ALCS, they will either play the Red Sox with two in Boston or if the Yankees beat the Sox, they will start the ALCS at Minute Maid.

The best scenario would seem to be to finish off the Indians early and not have to bring Justin Verlander back for a potential Game 5. Oh, it would be nice if New York and Boston wear each other’s pitching staffs out leading into the ALCS.
Players of the Week:
With only two games to tie to, this will focus on more than one player’s performance:

  • Justin Verlander. Pitched a brilliant no-no for five innings and though he was charged for two runs after he left the game in the sixth, he did not relent until after he had a 4-0 lead. He went 5.1 IP, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits with 7 Ks and 2 BBs.
  • Gerrit Cole. Pitched a great 7 innings in his first post-season start for the Astros (he had 3 previous starts for the Pirates) giving up 1 run on 3 hits with 12 Ks and 0 BBs.
  • Alex Bregman. With 3 runs scored, 3 RBIs and 2 home runs he was Mr. Clutch again.
  • Marwin Gonzalez. He is off to a 5-for-7 start to the postseason and hit the clutch two-run double Saturday that flipped a 1-0 deficit to a 2-1 lead in the 6th that gave the Astros a lead they never relinquished.
  • Ryan Pressly. Yes, he threw a terrible wild pitch with the bases loaded and one out, Friday, but he did not melt down as he minimized the damage and went on to record a solid 1.2 IP outing followed by a 0.2 outing on Saturday.
  • Roberto Osuna. He finished off both games solidly and had 4 pitch save on Saturday.
  • Others. Jose Altuve has a homer and a couple runs scored, George Springer and Martin Maldonado both had homers, Josh Reddick had three hits and two big RBIs and Tyler White, while not being part of the scoring was on base six times as he helped flip that lineup over a number of times.

Stat focus: Alex Bregman and the HR Scalps
After two playoff games, Bregman has two home runs against absolutely top notch pitchers, Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer. This goes along with the four he hit last off-season – Chris Sale (2), Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw. Pretty impressive set of pitchers to start his playoff career with….

Pop Song That Should Have Been a Hit

“Turn the Page” by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band…

This 1973 song was never released as a single by Seger, though the version on his 1976 Live Bullet album received a lot of album-oriented FM play. A 1998 version of it by Metallica did become a hit, but this is about the Seger version.

This was a very personal song, related to the difficulties of travelling on the road and even of being a “long hair” back in the day with truckers looking at them at truckstops inspiring the lyrics “Is it a woman or a man?”

There are two highlights to the song, Seger’s gritty vocals and the fantastic saxophone lead in by Alto Reed. This was a song that turned the spotlight on the truth about touring and gave a little lesson to all aspiring musicians.

But back to baseball – will the Astros clinch the ALDS and when? If they clinch, do you care if they play the Red Sox or the Yankees next?


118 comments on “Playoffs 2018: The week in review, the week ahead

  1. It’s SRO in my TV room. That’s because I’m the “only” one here. I can jump up and down and yell all I want. Go ASTROS…. gotta believe in these guys.


  2. The baseball gods have blessed out guys with some lucky knocks on bad swings. It’s in the cards it seems folks. They gifting us opportunities


  3. If McHugh finishes off the 7th inning any bets on which two pitcher tandem takes the 8th and the 9th innings respectively…..I think I know


  4. I don’t mean to say this distastefully, but remember when Andrew Miller took less money to not sign with Houston? I do have to question why Francona pulled him. He had to be expecting the Astros to PH for Reddick….which they didn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Astros decimated the Indians. Their fans have to recognize the fact that there are at least three teams in the AL that are much stronger than them and a couple more that are just as good or better.


  5. Well, you wake up in the mornin’; you hear our walk-up music play;
    you send us Clevenger & Bauer? After all they’ve had to say?
    We didn’t want to just defeat you; we came to blow your hides away.
    Say hello to our little friend – he’s gonna make you pay!

    Let the ‘Not that special’, shine the light on thee.
    Let the ‘not that special’ shine the ever-lovin’ light on thee.

    If you’re a pitcher for Cleveland, you prob’ly shouldn’t run your mouth.
    You’d ought not talk trash . . . ’bout a team from the South.
    Cause Breg’s and ‘Tuve will hear you . . . and George & Margo’ll take you out;
    and the next thing you know, boy – you’ll have an 11-3 rout!

    Let the ‘Not that special’, shine the light on thee.
    Let the ‘not that special’ shine the ever-lovin’ light on thee.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Our pitching staff shut down one of the best offensive teams in baseball. Apart from a couple of ill- advised high fastballs and one mistake in the middle of the plate, I thought Keuchel was very solid. This pitching staff is night and day better than last year’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Some thoughts:
    -Pine tar can cause you to make bad throws to the bases.
    -Go ahead, stir up some dookie and then face the world champions at crunch time.
    -Don’t lose sight of the fact that Dallas Keuchel pitched a really good game, without the home field advantage.
    -Collin McHugh was a nasty, brilliant surgeon today.
    -Not fielding the grounder up the middle was LMJ’s best move of the game.
    -Josh James was perfect in his first playoff series.
    -When Will Harris did throw a strike today, it looked real hittable.
    -Marwin is the MVP of that series, at least that’s how I vote.
    -Springer awakes, Correa awakes, Gattis sleeps.
    -Gurriel strikes out three times and still has a good game. He pushes all the time. Very underrated.
    -Bregman was on base all six times up today. Once on a FC.
    -Astros had 13 hits and 8 BBs.
    -Cleveland led the MLB in stolen bases this season and had none in this series.
    -Miller was the only Indian’s pitcher to not give up a run today.
    -Cleveland got 13 hits in the 3 games. Outscored 21-6.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1OP, you are spot on.

      Marwin is my vote for MVP of the series as well, due to his clutch hitting and team leading RBI total. When he is on he is able to change a game like no other. His ability to produce from both sides of the plate puts enormous pressure on an opposing BP and takes away a left/ righty advantage.

      But lets not overlook Bregman who slashed .556/.714/1.492 and 2.048 OPS!

      Or Springer that slashed .429/ .429/ 1.071 with 1.500 OPS.

      Or the pitching staff that totally shut down one of the best offenses in MLB.


    • All good thoughts 1OP, especially about Keuchel. He did his job according to the game plan, keeping his team right there through five. I know two teams in New York tonight who would love to have a Keuchel in their playoff rotation.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t sell Tony Kemp short – he led off at least two innings getting on base and scored on the double by Marwin. Also, everyone’s concerned with shifts and launch angles, but Marwin showed that in the postseason players who can poke a ball where the defense isn’t playing can be huge.

      Only complaint from me was our outfield shifting gave Diaz a double on a line drive to CF which could have gotten Keuchel in trouble. Luckily, he handled it for us.


  8. Last year we won the World Series with hitting that was far and away the best in baseball, one of the best hitting teams EVER. Now we are back in the LCS with far and away the best PITCHING in baseball. We are witnessing front office greatness..


    • Thriller, that’s especially impressive because Luhnow recognized duplicating last years offensive output was not going to happen. And getting Cole for guys we really didn’t have a place for was remarkable.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Roadthriller…..that’s exactly why Jim Crane gave Luhnow a BIG promotion with a LOT of money! I can’t add anything else to what all of you have said,but my orange Springer shirt was pretty dang lucky today! Now the fellas can come home and rest a little before they see who they will face. As of 8:50 p.m. the Red Sox have a 7-0 lead on the yankees. What a game we got to see today! I taped it, and I might watch it again this week!
    Mr. Bill I’m so glad you and the good doctor are back with us!


  10. I gotta say one more thing……give Marwin some REAL money over the winter, before the Red SoX or Yankees do. It’s time Mr. Crane, it’s time.


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