Listen to the Talking Stros podcasts throughout the playoff run.
The Houston Astros are moving on the ALCS to face the Yankees starting Saturday night at Minute Maid Park. This series encompassed many ups and downs, but the Astros still got the job done versus a good Rays pitching staff. By winning in Game 5 of the ALDS, the Astros avoid being the fourth team in MLB history to lose a five-game division series after winning the first two games.
As dead as the Astros offense looked at Tropicana Field, they bounced back in Game 5 early to take a 4-0 lead. The Rays fans, where have they been, helped the Rays win their two home games. But after being staked by a four-run lead in the first inning, Gerrit Cole cruised through eight innings, only allowing a homer to Eric Sogard.
Cole struck out ten batters, to add to the 15 strikeouts in Game 2, meaning he struck out 25 hitters in 15 2⁄3 innings. Everybody will be waiting with their checkbooks at the end of the season to sign Cole, but for now he has helped lead the Astros back to their third straight appearance in the ALCS.
After going up 2-0 on the Rays, the Astros lost two straight in Tampa. Last year, the Astros swept the Indians in the ALDS and won Game 1 of the ALCS before losing four straight games. The Red Sox did go on to win the World Series in 2018, but they are now the definition for World Series hangover.
Injuries and a hot Red Sox team may have limited the Astros run in 2018, but it looked like there was a chance they could not make the ALCS this year. The Rays gave the Astros all they could give to force a Game 5, so maybe this will be a rallying point for the rest of the postseason. They have faced adversity, and elimination and their true colors came out.
With no official word, I see the rotation rolling out like this. How the series plays out could alter this, however.
Game 1: Zack Greinke
Game 2: Justin Verlander
Game 3: Gerrit Cole
Game 4: Jose Urquidy
Game 5: Greinke
Game 6: Verlander
Game 7: Cole
The Astros offense needs to perform better in the ALCS to keep up with the Yankees. We saw some good signs from George Springer and Michael Brantley in Game 5. Plus, they got to clinch in front of a loud crowd. It’s a good thing the Astros got home field advantage. Plus, the bats got hot at the right time while the Yankees have been sitting around waiting.
These were some of the many topics that I discussed on the Locked On Astros and Talking Stros podcast last night. Big Sarge from Big Sarge Sportz joined Locked On Astros to discuss what he saw and the postgame interviews. Make sure you follow the postseason with the Crawfish Boxes but also on Talking Stros.