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?