NLCS and ALCS comments from Tuesday

What an exciting night of baseball we were able to take in on Tuesday. Boston thrilled us with over the top offense, while Los Angeles and Milwaukee kept us on the edge of our seats playing a tied game late in to the night.

Houston must be wondering is there any way to keep Boston’s bats from exploding? Last night the Red Sox put up eight runs on the Astros’ pitchers while being held to only two runs. Nathan Eovaldi went six innings giving up the only two runs of the game and the the Red Sox bullpen did the rest. Dallas Keuchel was somewhat strong through five innings giving up two runs as well, but once the bullpen stepped in it fell apart. Joe Smith took over for Keuchel and gave up the eventual winning run sixth and the icing on the cake was Roberto Osuna giving up a grand slam to Jackie Bradley Jr. in the eighth. Throughout the regular season Houston’s pitching staff has been somewhat reliable and when they were not the high powered offense was able to make up for it, unfortunately that was not the case last night.

In a complete contrast from game three of the ALCS, game 4 of the NLCS was a pitching

20170718_dodgers-whitesox_cody_bellinger_swinging
By TonyTheTiger [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
duel. This game started off really rocky for the Brewers as they let one run score in the first and then had to take starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez out in the second after he twisted his ankle trying to field a ground ball, but young Freddy Peralta stepped in and pitched extremely well for Milwaukee and shut down the Dodgers for three innings allowing his team to climb back in to this game. In the fifth inning the Brewers tied the game up at one and then we went seven innings of scoreless baseball late in to the Southern California night. Finally in the 13th inning the struggling Cody Bellinger knocked in the Manny Machado to walk it off. It was a game for the ages and one that won’t soon be forgotten.

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Game 1 of the ALCS is in the books

Leading up to game one of the ALCS all the talk was about the Boston Red Sox and not about the defending champions the Houston Astros. After game one the wind has shifted.

Houston came out and stunned Boston beating them 7-2 behind a great showing from Justin Verlander and a not so great start from Chris Sale.

Chris Sale
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Chris Sale) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Verlander held Red Sox hitters to just two hits over six innings and allowed two runs. While Sale only lasted four innings giving up two earned runs. Yes the stat line doesn’t look very different for the two starting pitchers, but the reality was Sale just was not at the top of his game.

Astros’ high powered offense was on full display with home runs by Josh Reddick and

Yuli Gurriel. Gurriel’s three run home run put this game out of reach in the ninth inning and deflated the Red Sox who couldn’t fight their way back from a five run deficit. Missing in action from this game was Boston’s offense being held to only three hits and no long balls.

Game two will have Gerrit Cole facing off against David Price on Sunday in Boston and it will be a chance for the Red Sox to heat up their cold bats. While Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman will try and get their first hits of the ALCS and join the hot offense that surrounds them.

Sunday’s game could be a turning point in this series and if Houston could win it could be all but over for Boston.

Mixed Feelings

I came across a story today regarding Houston Astros’ pitcher Ryan Pressly sticking up for Roberto Osuna. You can read the story here.
For those who are unaware Osuna was suspended this season under the leagues domestic violence policy.

During Monday’s ALDS game 3 a Cleveland Indians fan was heckling Osuna in regards to his suspension and teammate Pressly came to his defense. Now, on one hand I am all about a teammate sticking up for another teammate, but on the other hand sticking up for someone who is believed to hit women is not something I am for.

As I read through the story I started off feeling like Pressly did the right thing, but as I kept going those feelings changed. I am still at this moment very torn. In the end I am landing on Pressly doing the wrong thing. Why you may ask? Because sticking up for a teammate is one thing, but insulting the fan who clearly wasn’t pleased with Osuna’s off the field behavior is another. Using profanity towards the fan is unacceptable to me and if Osuna can’t take the heckling he should have kept his hands to himself.

Would love to hear your opinion on the matter, comment below.

Why aren’t we talking more about the Astros?

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By Houston Astros (https://twitter.com/astros) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Last night the Boston Red Sox, behind the bat of Brock Holt, beat up on the New York Yankees. It was an impressive win and history was made with Holt hitting for the cycle, but why is no one talking about the Houston Astros sweeping the Cleveland Indians on Monday.

Houston is the defending World Series Champions, they won 103 games in 2018 and beat Cleveland like they were playing a minor league team in spring training. Yet if you watched the news this morning you may not even realize they played. New York, Los Angeles and Boston are big TV markets, but let’s not loose sight of what the Astros are doing on their way to defending their 2017 Championship.

With all-stars like George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Gerrit Cole the Astros have to be feared and respected. Let’s stop paying attention to a non-deciding game between the Yankees and Red Sox and start talking about the sweep that took place last night.

Is Houston a runaway favorite?

houston_astros_logo
By Houston Astros (https://twitter.com/astros) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
As the New Year kicks off it is time to start looking forward to the 2017 baseball season. I decide the best way to start is to look at the teams that are front runners for their respective divisions.

Today we are focusing on the Houston Astros. After two surprisingly good seasons the Astros likely come in to 2017 as the favorite to win the AL West. On paper they have one of the stoutest lineups in all of baseball with huge power from start to finish. On paper however is not where games are played.

Houston’s pitching staff is full of young live arms, but at times in 2016 they were inconsistent at best. Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Collin McHugh will be mainstays of the rotation with Joe Musgrove likely next in line. After that however it is yet to be seen who will follow. In baseball youth is a virtue, but with youth comes a certain unpredictability. Youth isn’t just found in the Astro’s pitching staff either, as their lineup will be one of the youngest in baseball as it was the last two years.

With young studs all over the infield and extra talent brought in this offseason it remains to be seen how the Astros will get everyone on the field. Players like Evan Gattis, Marwin Gonzalez, A.J. Reed and Tyler White will likely see extended time on the bench or in the minors due to the log jam of talent. With another year of solid defense and outstanding power out of guys like George Springer, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman runs will come in bunches. Only downside to this offense is the amount of swing and miss that will be in the lineup.

Houston’s offensive prowess will carry them for this season and for the near term future, but will it be enough to overcome what was at times very shaky pitching is yet to be seen.