It seems likely that nobody in the World Series was more pissed off than Astros third baseman Alex Bregman heading into Game 4. The ’Stros’ top hitter in the regular season was only 1-for-13 in the first three games of the Fall Classic. His lone positive contribution was a meaningless dinger in a 12-3 loss, and it was his misplay in that defeat that helped allow the game to get out of control. Even in the team’s 4-1 win on Friday, Bregman was 0-for-5, the indignity of his slump hammered home when the Nationals gave Michael Brantley an intentional walk with two outs to load the bases for Bregman in the sixth, and the MVP candidate hit into a fielder’s choice.
That’s all forgotten after Houston’s 8-1 win on Saturday night, which was so dang emphatic thanks entirely to Bregman’s heroics. Bregman got an RBI single in the first to start the scoring, and then, facing Fernando Rodney in the seventh with the bases loaded and his team up 4-1 (why oh why did the Nats bring Rodney in instead of Sean Doolittle or Daniel Hudson?), Bregman unloaded on a low and inside 0-1 pitch and banished it beyond the left field wall to stun a packed Nats ballpark.
The best angle for the dong is not the broadcast one, however, but this one that shows Bregman taking all the time in the world to gaze proudly at his handiwork before starting the trot to first. As ESPN’s Jeff Passan noted, it took Bregman 9.43 seconds to get from home plate to first, just a tad over his season average of 4.38. You think this guy seems relieved to see all his struggles disappear in a flash?
“This game is a game of failure, and you’re gonna fail a heck of a lot more than you succeed in it,” Bregman said after the game. “I think the feeling that I had when I hit that was I was pretty fired up.”
With Bregman back on track, so are the Astros, who have spent the last two days outscoring the Nationals 12-2 after blowing the first two games of this World Series at home. Sunday night brings a rematch of the only close game of this series, as Game 1 starters Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer go head-to-head in Washington’s final home game of the year.