The Houston Astros will try to even the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox at two games apiece on Tuesday night.
Their pitchers haven’t performed well and that’s why they are in a 2-1 hole.
The series, however, is far from over, and there are plenty of reasons to think Houston can come back and make a push for the Fall Classic.
Here are three reasons why Houston fans should not panic…yet.
3. They Have A Proven Winner On The Mound To Try To Tie Series
The Astros’ starting pitching has been very bad during the 2021 ALCS against Boston.
Framber Valdez couldn’t get out of the third inning in Game 1’s victory, allowing nine baserunners and two earned runs.
In Game 2, Luis Garcia, an impressive rookie who finished with a solid 3.30 ERA in 155.1 innings, was battered for five earned runs in just an inning of work.
Game 3 was more of the same, with Jose Urquidy on the receiving end of the beating.
The Astros desperately need their Game 4 starting pitcher to provide some length, not only to keep his team in the game, but also to provide a tired bullpen some rest.
Fortunately, they have a veteran of a thousand battles in Zack Greinke taking the mound on Tuesday night.
Greinke has pitched 107.2 postseason innings in his career, with a 4.18 ERA.
In 16.1 ALCS innings, he has a 3.31 ERA.
And, of course, we have the marvelous World Series outing in 2019 against the Washington Nationals, in which he silenced a top lineup in his team’s loss.
He is perhaps the Astros’ best card to win and tie the series.
In Game 4 of the 2020 ALCS, with the Astros down 3-0 in the series, Zack Greinke pitched 6.0 innings and kept the Astros in the game. He will do the same tonight!
— Rip Griffin (@RipGriffin3) October 19, 2021
2. Postseason Pedigree
If there is a team with proven (and recent) postseason pedigree, it’s the Astros.
Since 2017, they have gone to each and every ALCS.
They won it all in 2017, lost in the 2018 ALCS against Boston, won the 2019 edition against the New York Yankees (and lost the Fall Classic), and fell to the Tampa Bay Rays last year.
They know how to win in these instances, and have some of the core performers from 2017-2020 on the 2021 team.
"The Red Sox are here because of their offense. … The Astros are in their 5th straight ALCS. They're the 3rd team in history to go 5 straight championship series — Braves: 1990s (8 times), A's: 1970s (5 times)."
— @BenVerlander previews the ALCS:
— Flippin' Bats Podcast (@FlippinBatsPod) October 15, 2021
Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez, Yuli Gurriel, and Alex Bregman are all proven postseason performers, and Kyle Tucker, Chas McCormick, and others are trying to build their own legacies.
1. They Have A Top Offense
The Astros’ offense is the best in MLB.
They scored 5.3 runs per game, more than every other team.
When everybody is healthy, their lineup can measure up to anyone.
Four hitters had 25 or more home runs during the regular season: Correa (26), Altuve (31), Tucker (30), and Alvarez (33).
Gurriel hit .319, Brantley .311, and Bregman overcame leg issues to finish the regular season with a .270/.355/.422 line and 12 round-trippers in 400 plate appearances.
McCormick was a nice find, with a .257/.319/.447 line and 14 homers, too.
Boston also has a top offense, but when the Astros are clicking, their bats can decide the outcome of a game.
It remains to be seen if the bats can overcome what it’s increasingly looking like a not-good-enough pitching staff.NEXT: Astros Pitching Falling Apart Against The Red Sox