After a disappointing 5-4 loss in Game 1 of the World Series to the Nationals, here are five quick fixes to the Astros problems:
- Hit at home
- Hit on the road
- Hit with runners in scoring position
- Hit to get runners in scoring position
Yeah, that should do it. Sure, the Astros could have pitched better. Gerrit Cole threw a low fastball to Ryan Zimmerman who loves them. Cole threw a high fastball to Juan Soto who loves them. And he threw a few more to some other folks who went the other way with them. They could have run better. Most think George Springer should have stopped admiring his double in the eighth inning long enough to turn it into a triple. They could have fielded better. Michael Brantley the fielding star of the 6th game against the Yanks, did not get back on a 2 run double by Soto that clanked sickeningly off the wall.
But in the end the Astros have been scuffling along instead of soaring due to their hitting problems. They put a lot of guys on the base paths against Max Scherzer and his buddies, but had real problems bringing them home. The team left 11 on base, but individually the players had at bats with 25 on base and only knocked 3 of those in (not counting the Springer solo HR). Worst offenders had to be Alex Bregman at 0 for 4 with 3 Ks and Carlos Correa at 1 for 5 with 3 Ks. Bregman needs to forget about being an MVP and throttle back to a VP or maybe a P.
The Astros were not helped out by the plate ump missing an obvious catcher’s interference against Josh Reddick that might have led to a bases loaded, one out at bat for Jose Altuve. They were unlucky on Springer’s long double that would have been his second HR if it was either a foot farther back or a foot to the left. They were unlucky when Brantley ripped a screaming liner that the LF caught with Springer still nailed to 2B.
But….they have to hit. They cannot expect their pitching to be lights out all the time. They did well to get up by 2 runs on the Nats, but then their offense curled up and died until they were behind by three runs. They need to get ahead and hit the accelerator, which will be tough with Game 2 starter Stephen Strasburg on the mound.
They were down 1-0 in the last series to the Yanks. They were down 1-0 in their last World Series against the Dodgers. This is another must win situation. They cannot expect to win four out of five with three of those on the road, especially after expending Cole and Justin Verlander. The Nats are hungry like the Astros were in 2017. The Astros are a match for them in talent, but are they a match in desire? Tonight will speak directly to that question.