The longer the Astros stick around, the more baseball fans complain and bring out the tired jokes about their cheating. Maybe more opponents get suspicious, as Chisox pitcher Ryan Tepera did after Game 3. This is obviously the price the Astros have to pay for 2017’s scandal, and the only price they have to pay. But it sounds more and more lame the more and more the Astros keep piling up hits and runs in the postseason.
Something just happens to the Astros when the calendar turns to October. They put up 31 runs over four games against the White Sox, a team that finished with the fifth-best ERA in MLB over the season. Houston had four players finish the series with an OPS over 1.000. They struck out 16 times in Game 3, a game they lost, but still put up six runs, and only K’d 25 times in the other three games. Maybe that’s the most amazing thing about the Astros, is that they seem to be the one team that can hit for power without sacrificing contact.
It’s the same story every year though. Last year, in the Division Series, they had a team OPS of .982 and hit 12 homers against the A’s. 2018 they had an OPS of .892 for the postseason. Say what you want about 2017, and it’s all available to you, but this keeps happening.
Did they get a little help this time around? Maybe. Tony La Russa was one batter too slow in pulling Carlos Rodon in Game 4, which let Carlos Correa put them in the lead, and gave Houston a 10-1 series-clinching win. The shenanigans of Game 2 and Craig Kimbrel in the eighth have been well-discussed. Lance Lynn is a great matchup for them in Game 1, because he only throws fastballs.
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But that only matters if you don’t miss, and the Astros didn’t. This went from a highly-anticipated matchup between two of baseball’s best and most exciting teams to an absolute ass-waxing. And considering that the Red Sox still have a pitching staff that they’re holding together with duct tape and prayer, this express probably isn’t going to stop over the next four-to-seven games.