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.

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What Were the Astros Thinking?

download-3In 2015 the Astros took the world by storm with their playoff run surprising nearly everyone. They had a team full of young, exciting, talent like George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. Their pitching staff had the AL Cy Young award winner in Dallas Keuchel. Not to mention Lance McCullers and Collin McHugh. No they didn’t make it to the World Series, but they did put on a show.

Turn to 2016 and it is not hard to see that so far this season has been a disappointment. Those stud pitchers have been ordinary. Their offense has been hit or miss. They just can’t seem to bring back the excitement of last season.

At the trade deadline the Houston Astros were relatively quiet. With all the young talent they have in their minor league system you would have thought they would have made a big splash and gone after a difference maker, but they didn’t. Was it a mistake? Yes. Houston’s offense is going to be there as they have big bats throughout their lineup and more on the way with the inevitable call-up of Yulieski Gurriel. What they lack is a lock down starting pitcher. A slump buster. They guy that goes out there and says today we end our losing streak.

Chris Sale was reportedly available if the price was right and Houston was one of a few teams that could have offered the right price. A package that included multiple Triple-A studs could have been put together and not even made a dent in the future of the Astros. Instead Houston is without an ace pitcher and a log jam of talent that has them bringing prospects up only to split time and platoon.

I am no MLB general manager and never have been, other than in my own mind, but I have to think that the Astros made a big mistake at the deadline and were either prospect greedy or overconfident in the pitching staff they had.