In a postseason that’s been dominated by offense, the Houston Astros have proven more so than anyone how deep, dynamic and dangerous their offense is.
That was highlighted again on Monday when the Astros advanced to their first ever American League Championship Series after staging a late-inning comeback against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Astros scored three runs over the final two innings, all against Boston’s best two pitchers — Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel — to win Game 4 of the ALDS 5-4.
Aside from a blip on the radar in Game 3 on Sunday, the Astros showed it’s not fluke that their offense scored the most runs in the regular season. They have superstars galore, with Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa leading the charge. But they’re so much more than that. Manager A.J. Hinch can write in the names of dangerous hitters in all nine spots of his batting order.
The depth that exists and the balance the Astros have displayed has gone unmatched by any team in the league. It was, without question, the deciding factor in their series against Boston.
The Astros had a new hero or set of heroes in every game. In Game 1, Altuve made history by joining the short list of players to hit three home runs in a postseason game. In Game 2, Correa set the tone with a first-inning homer and later added a two-run double to break the game open.
In Game 4, there were several contributors. Alex Bregman tied the game with an eighth-inning home run against Chris Sale. Later that inning, Josh Reddick drove in the go-ahead run with a single against Craig Kimbrel. Carlos Beltran’s run-scoring double in the ninth inning loomed large too after Boston got one back on Rafael Devers’ inside-the-park home run.
In total, nine different players drove in at least one run for Houston during the ALDS. First baseman Yuli Gurriel wasn’t one of them, but he kept the lineup moving with a series-leading nine hits in his 17 at-bats.
Beyond that, Houston set the tone by scoring first in every game. In fact, the Astros scored in the first inning in each game, totaling eight runs. There was always pressure on the Red Sox to fight back or add on, and ultimately they couldn’t keep up.
The Astros answered any questions about their offense being a product of the cozy conditions of hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park. Yeah, they never had to play in the elements at home. And sure, they know how to use the Crawford Boxes in left field and the ballpark’s other quirks to their advantage. But what decent team doesn’t turn their home field into a big advantage?
None of those advantages came with them to Boston. In fact, they put together their most important at-bats in Game 4 as the rain fell on Fenway Park. Even with a three-day layoff coming and a matchup against the Cleveland Indians or New York Yankees looming in the ALCS, it’s impossible to imagine this Astros offense slowing down.
They’re too good. Too versatile. Too confident. Too deep to not cause problems for whichever pitching staff challenges them next.
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