White Sox reliever Ryan Tepera pitched effectively in the recent four-game ALDS loss to the Astros. He allowed 1 run in 4.2 innings and allowed 2 hits and no walks in his three appearances. However, he may well have been the Astros best friend when after the Sox Game 3 win, he implied the Astros were cheating at home, and that was why they were shut down with 16 Ks in game three.
The facts are that the Astros still scored six runs in that third game, that the Astros had the best road offense in baseball this season, and that it was actually the White Sox who had a much better offense at home than on the road. And in a bit of circumstantial evidence turned around, Ryan Tepera had a 1.82 ERA in his first 33 games this season, but in the last 32 games, after the MLB started checking for sticky stuff, his ERA was a much worse 4.05. Just sayin’…..
After an entire season of fan harassment, the Astros were probably numb to that particular cause for motivation. However, having a foe bringing this up to the national press seemed to get their full attention. After falling behind 1-0 early, the offense came alive with the veterans like Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve leading the way. When the smoke cleared, and with an over the top protest of a hit by a pitch by Tony LaRussa slightly upsetting the festivities, the Astros won the ALDS with a complete 10-1 beat down.
It was a team effort in this series, but the Astros offense shined through the most. Even with AL batting champ Yuli Gurriel squeezing out three singles in 17 at bats and Martin Maldonado putting up one single in 15 at bats, the rest of the lineup was hot and productive.
- Leadoff man Jose Altuve scored nine runs (three more runs than the Sox had in their three losses) and punctuated the Astros’ domination with a ninth-inning three-run homer in the 4th game.
- Top OF Kyle Tucker had a national coming out with 5 runs scored, 2 homers, a team-leading seven RBIs and two back to back stolen bases in the 4th game that led to a back-breaking 3 run rally.
- Michael Brantley (.368 BA), Alex Bregman (.375 BA), Jake Meyers (.375 BA), Carlos Correa (.385 BA) and Chas McCormick (.400 BA) all flooded the bases with baserunners for the series.
- Yordan Alvarez was quiet in the last two games but was critical early with a homer, double and 3 RBIs.
The pitching staff was led by likely and unlikely heroes along the way.
- Lance McCullers Jr. started two wins and only gave up 1 run in 10.2 innings before leaving with a bothersome arm injury.
- In a huge surprise, Phil Maton threw three scoreless innings, giving up one hit and no walks.
- Ryan Pressly and Ryne Stanek both had three scoreless appearances in the series.
- Cristian Javier made the most of his one relief appearance, throwing 2.2 scoreless innings with six Ks.
Now the Astros move on to play the red hot Red Sox in their fifth straight ALCS. But that is a post for another day.