Lance McCullers, Jr. shares a moment with wife Kara and daughter Ava. Photo by Steven Devadanam
As the city settles into the warm afterglow of its second World Series title courtesy of the Houston Astros, we look back at some of the best moments of Game 6 on Saturday, November 5. Not surprisingly, some of the most magical memories came from the Astros we joined who also celebrated the first World Series title in 2017: José Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Lance McCullers, Jr.
Team Bregman poses on the mound.Photo by Steven Devadanam
The Bregman Family on-field
When CultureMap reminded third baseman and fan favorite Bregman that he predicted “big things ahead in 2022” — back in January, he grinned big at the mention, especially of his son, Knox. “Man,” he said as he stood on the mound after the game and posed for family photos, “we did it.”
“Moments like this when we win and when things go right, it’s the best thing ever to have him with us and celebrate with him,” his wife Reagan Bregman said about little Knox, whom she cradled on the field. “This is the best year of our lives.”
Reagan also shared the change in her husband since Knox came along. “He is just the most incredible father and it’s really cool to see how motivated he is on the field and at home.”
LMJ’s love for his teammates
McCullers, perhaps the official team spokesman, minced no words when asked to again state the impact of the new Astros. “I don’t think we’re here without those new guys,” he told us. “Some guys weren’t even in the organization, some guys were still in college, other guys like [pitcher Hector] Neris were on other teams. They’re the reason we’re here.”
Altuve’s big grin
Altuve grinned big as he held the trophy.Photo by Steven Devadanam
Hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy after the win on the big stage, Altuve looked like less like an Astros legend and more like a kid with his first trophy. He knowingly smiled wide when we yelled “vamos!” at him.
Big Papi bear hugs Breggy
We followed Tyler Straub, Bregman's best friend and manager, as he watched Bregman on the Fox Sports post-game show. As Bregman stood behind the hosts, analyst and MLB legend David "Big Papi" Ortiz — who was totally rooting for the 'Stros — walked onto the set and lifted Bregman in a massive bear hug as fans cheered. The slugger-to-slugger moment was a pure, inside-baseball celebration.
Continue on CultureMap to learn about the fifth phenomenal moment.
As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.
Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).
Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.
But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.
Cristian Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. He acknowledged that some of his struggles last year could be attributed to some extra weight he was carrying around in addition to the already-documented mechanical flaws he had.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) February 22, 2024
In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.
Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.
The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.