Dan P is writing on his phone on the road, so this will be short and sweet today.
The Astros could not have asked for a better start to their 2021 playoffs. They won two games in very different ways to stand on the cusp of a fifth straight trip to the ALCS. They rode a terrific outing by Lance McCullers in the first game and slowly ground out six runs to methodically strangle the life out of the White Sox. They allowed the Pale Hose to get a lead in the second game, came back to tie it, and buried them with a five-run rally late.
The Astros deep offense (for everyone not named Martin Maldonado) was on full display. Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel were shut out in the first game and came back huge in the second game. Yordan Alvarez showed what scary is all about with some bullets to the outfield and beyond. Alex Bregman is hitting, Jose Altuve was getting on and getting home, Carlos Correa was clutch and Michael Brantley, while not on fire, had a huge hit and 2 RBIs. Even the two-headed CF of Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers both knocked in a run in their first playoff exposure.
Lance was as good as you could expect on the pitching side, while Framber Valdez was shaky. The bullpen sometimes having more traffic than you want to hold the rope with Phil Maton, of all people having the most significant moment.
Defense gets short shrift in talking about the Astros, but the defense led by Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Kyle Tucker, especially in the second game, was a difference-maker.
Will this show play as well on the road? We shall see come Sunday.