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Thursday’s Three Astros Things

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3 Things Orange

Some things to talk about while I remember how hard it is to write a post for a website every day...

1) Thank you old friend

It took a lot to get to him. If Rich Hill didn’t get pulled after the fourth inning. If Ross Stripling hadn’t gotten pulled after walking the only batter he faced on four pitches. If Dave Roberts hadn’t put in Kenley Jansen for a rare-for-him six-out save. But all that did happen, meaning Roberts had to turn to an old friend.

When Josh Fields walked out to the mound in the top of the tenth, Game 2 seemed a lot more winnable.

That’s not fair to Fields. He’s been very good for the Dodgers this year! He’s been very good in the playoffs!

But, after watching him for years in Houston, Fields did seem beatable. Too many times, Astros fans saw Fields blow up or make a mistake pitch that got hammered.

Still, he earned a lot of goodwill from this corner of Astros fandom after becoming a decent reliever out of the Rule 5 draft. He was here in the dark years. He earned some goodwill.

But man was I glad to see him give up those two bombs.

2) Did the Astros offense wake up?

I’m losing my mind, friends. If I have to hear Joe Buck and John Smoltz talk about how the Astros have “struggled” on the road one more time...

They played six games on the road in the playoffs! Six! In the regular season, Houston scored six runs a game on the road. They scored 2.3 in those first six road games. Which of those numbers do you think is more predictive?

Maybe, just maybe the Astros faced the best pitcher on the planet in Game 1. They also had a terrible umpire behind the plate who was not as terrible as some of the umpires in the Yankees series, but was still bad enough to enrage the usually unflappable Jose Altuve.

This is what Houston’s offense does, both at home and on the road. I’ll trust a season’s worth of data before I trust the magic of Playoff Grit™ dooming the Astro bats.

3) A bit of Game 1 business

Apologies for not getting a Three Things done Wednesday. Here’s an item I’d have written about there. Before Game 1, The Ringer did a great article on why the Dodgers might be Dallas Keuchel’s kryptonite.

That headline is a little overblown, but the TL;DR of it all is that Keuchel throws a ton of pitches outside the strike zone. The Dodgers swung at the fewest pitches out of the zone of any team in the majors.

The article suggests this may make Keuchel work up the zone instead of trying to get swings and misses on those low pitches.

That’s exactly what got him in trouble, too. The home run he gave up to Turner was up and he may have been backed into that corner because of an inconsistent strike zone.

Maybe things change in his next start (which is now assured to be in Game 5), but Keuchel will need to get those low pitches called a little more often to get the Dodgers to swing.