The Houston Astros’ backs are against the wall.
After falling behind in the 2021 World Series 3-1, the team found itself in a spot where it needed to win three straight.
The Astros checked the first box of that goal by winning Game 5 of the series, thus closing the gap to 3-2, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.
If Houston wants to complete this comeback, it’s going to have to win each of the next two contests.
The next step is to win Game 6.
Here are players who need to step up for Houston to make that happen.
2. Alex Bregman
It has been a quiet World Series for Alex Bregman.
The 27-year-old is batting just .111 and has an ugly OPS of .394.
He’s 2-for-18 with a double.
Fortunately, that double came recently (just two days ago in Game 5), so perhaps he’s on the verge of flipping a switch.
If so, that would be huge for Houston.
Bregman is typically a solid playoff performer, which we saw during the Astros’ ALDS victory over the Chicago White Sox earlier in these playoffs.
During that series, he batted .375 with an OPS of .882.
He was a massive reason why the Astros were able to clinch that thing in four games.
Houston would love to see that version of Bregman for the remainder of the World Series.
We’ll see if that’s in the cards when Game 6 arrives.
1. Yordan Alvarez
Yordan Alvarez had a mammoth ALCS for the Astros.
He played out of his mind, batting .522 with a 1.408 OPS over six games in the series.
He homered once, doubled three times, and tripled once.
Over the final three games of the series, he posted an unfathomable .692 batting average and 2.022 OPS.
He was unstoppable.
Unsurprisingly, he took home ALCS MVP honors.
ALCS MVP Yordan Alvarez pic.twitter.com/r4XtB86UUl
— Hardball Highlights™ (@HardballVault) October 25, 2021
But since then, he has cooled off.
In fact, the youngster has been a bit of a liability in the World Series.
He’s just 1-for-16 in the series and hasn’t recorded a hit since Game 1.
His WPA for the series is -0.253, meaning he has cost Houston roughly one-fourth of a victory.
Obviously, this needs to change.
Houston was fortunate to get a win in Game 5 despite an 0-for-5 showing from Alvarez, but that might be hard to do again in Game 6.
Will the 24-year-old show some signs of life and turn things around?
Only time will tell.
Wrap-Up: Astros Not Dead Yet
Bregman and Alvarez are going to be key to Houston’s offensive success (or lack thereof) for the remainder of the series.
But also, let’s state the obvious.
There’s another player who’s going to have to step up for the Astros in Game 6: Luis Garcia.
The club is putting a lot of faith in the young righty by giving him the ball in this game, and we’ll have to wait and see if it pays off.
Luis Garcia will start Game 6 on three days of rest.
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) November 1, 2021
If Garcia shows up and delivers a solid outing, the Astros will have a real chance at forcing a Game 7.
But if Garcia pitches like he did in the early stages of these playoffs (when he had a 24.55 ERA over his first two postseason starts), then Houston will likely be in trouble.