The Rangers host the Astros for Game 3 on Wednesday night. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images
“These are the times that try men’s souls” – Revolutionary War patriot Thomas Paine.
We saw the numbers splash across the bottom of our TV screen after Game 2 of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park, where the Texas Rangers beat the Astros, 5-4.
Teams that go up 2-0 in the post-season win 84 percent of series. That would be the Texas Rangers they’re talking about.
It gets worse.
Teams are 0-21 after losing the first two LCS games at home. (gulp) That’s the Astros.
“Judge me how many times I fell down and got back up again.” — Nelson Mandela.
Let’s not walk out in the seventh inning or give up the ship, Astros fans. Hope is not lost. Remember …
The ALCS now shifts to Globe Life Field for three games. So the Astros have the Rangers right where they want them – in Arlington. The Astros had a weirdly winning record on the road this year, 51-30. Even better, the Astros were 6-1 against the Rangers at Globe Life Field. The ol’ away field advantage.
But the Rangers had a strong home record, 50-31. Worlds are colliding, Jerry.
The Astros entered the ALCS as slight betting favorites over the Rangers. After going down 0-2, Vegas wiseguys have the Astros as significant underdogs. In fact, the Rangers are now favorites to win the World Series.
“If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you.” — Rudyard Kipling.
The Fox announcers spent several minutes musing why the Astros are dominant on the road but have an upside-down record at home. Here’s why … I think anyway. Actually, I’m surprised that more teams don’t play better away from home. When baseball teams hit the road, they stay at hotels like the Four Seasons and get hundreds of dollars of meal money to spend at the finest restaurants. At the Four Seasons, part of their “signature sleep experience” is their mattress, which costs $4,300. You often hear that teams like playing home games because they get to sleep in their own beds. I don’t have a $4,300 mattress at home – do you?
On the road, players aren’t bothered by their wives or girlfriends (in some cases both). Players get to hold the remote when they watch TV. They can order room service and nobody complains about crumbs in bed. They can leave the seat up on the toilet. Life is fantastic in a hotel.
So it’s understandable why the Astros had a big year on the road and a losing record at home. Hey, a lot of us had a losing record at home this year.
I once asked former Houston Rockets coach, now-Boston Celtics consultant, why do sports teams typically have a hard time winning on the road? They live a life of luxury on the road.
JVG replied, “I’ve never been able to figure that out, either. It doesn’t make sense.” And he’s been on the road more than Willie Nelson.
“Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, don’t stop it’ll soon be here, it’ll be better than before, yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.” — Fleetwood Mac.
Mattress Mack has another of his Astros promotions running this year. Buy a mattress for $3,000 or more and if the Astros win the World Series, you get your money back. I don’t know if you still have to pay the tax, though.
Now, I’m sure that Mack is rooting emotionally for the Astros to win the Series. But financially, which benefits him more, the Astros winning or losing? The only way we’d know if for him to say how many mattresses went out the door at Gallery Furniture, how much profit he makes on each mattress, and that ain’t gonna happen.
“You may not realize when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” — Walt Disney.
While it’s never happened that a team has recovered from dropping the first two games of an LCS at home, the Astros are a decent value bet to break that streak. Besides being kings of the road, Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy are slated to pitch Games 3 and 4. They’re both hot. More important, the Astros owned the Rangers this season, especially in Arlington.
Plus, the Rangers will be sleeping in their lumpy old mattresses at home the next three nights.
After a quiet offseason the Houston Astros finally made some moves this week to bolster their roster by adding backup catcher Victor Caratini in free agency.
The club also acquired some bullpen help by trading for Royals reliever Dylan Coleman.
Astros GM Dana Brown also garnered a lot of attention this week by proclaiming Jake Meyers will get an opportunity to be the everyday starter in center field.
And while the Astros have been connected to several free agent relief pitchers by various media outlets, it appears Houston isn't looking to spend much money.
On the other hand, the Yankees went out and traded for superstar outfielder Juan Soto, and have shot past the Astros when it comes to World Series odds.
Which begs the question, have the Astros done enough to compete with the Yankees in 2024?
To be fair, we've seen this movie before. The Yankees historically out spend every team, but they've been a little more conservative over the last few years.
But now, they look like the Yankees of old when it comes to payroll.
Plus, we heard rumors a few weeks ago that the Astros might be looking to trade Jake Meyers. And now all of a sudden he's getting the first crack at the starting job in center?
Could this be a smoke screen from Dana Brown to try to elevate his trade value? We've seen the Astros value defense in center field before, they let George Springer walk and replaced him with Myles Straw.
Be sure to watch the video above as we decipher what the Astros are really trying to accomplish this offseason, and successful they can be in the AL in 2024.