Every-Thing Sports

I believe in the Astros, dammit!

Astros Gerrit Cole
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After losing Game One of the ALCS by putting a donut in the run column, a lot of Astros fans panicked. Some blamed Zack Greinke, some blamed the bats, others gave the Yankees too much credit. While they did play well enough to earn that win, there were several instances in which the Astros shot themselves in the foot. Game Two came along and fans were happy because Justin Verlander was on the mound. Verlander pitched 6 2/3 innings, only giving up two runs, and deserved to have won that game. The team won 3-2 thanks to Carlos Correa's walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning, but Verlander got a no decision.

With the series tied 1-1 and headed to the Bronx for the next three games, there's still reason for optimism. Despite the poor performances at the plate by the lineup, despite the bullpen concerns, despite not having faith in anyone not named Verlander or Gerrit Cole, I still believe in this team's chances to win, dammit! And here's why:

Correa's home run was a spark

Going back to Correa's home run, I think it sparks something for this team. Moments like this can galvanize a team and start a movement. Remember back in 2017 when "Club Astros" was a thing? Remember how loose this team played? Right now, they're more the hunted than the hunters. The pressure has built up and it may be getting to them, especially given how tight they seem to be at the plate. Maybe Correa's walk-off (with the ensuing antics) are a way to light a fire underneath this team? Don't be surprised to see the dugout get more lively and/or better, more loose plate appearances.

Aaron Boone panicked

In Game Two, I think Yankee's manager Aaron Boone panicked. He pulled starter James Paxton after 2 1/3 innings pitched and proceeded to use eight more pitchers the rest of the way. A couple of those guys were/are potential Game Four starters, or they're reliable bullpen arms who were called into duty too soon. Their bullpen is better than what the Astros have, but they're tired out early in this series, advantage Astros. If Boone continues to manage scared to lose, again, advantage Astros.

Cole > Luis Severino in Game Three

Severino was quoted as saying he's not nervous about facing off against Cole in Game Three and having to outduel him (I'm paraphrasing here). He thinks that all he has to do is match what Cole does. Mind you, Severino has only pitched in three games since returning from injury. Sure he was their ace to start this season, but at 25 years old with only a handful of experience, do we really think he can hang with Cole? Answer: HELL NAH! The Astros haven't lost a Cole start since Prohibition. He's either the Cy Young winner this season, or runner-up. Cole had 326 K's this season and 25 in his two postseason starts. Good luck keeping up Luis! (sarcasm font for the humor-impaired).

Injuries

No team was hit harder by the injury bug than the Yankees this season. They had 4,672 guys on their roster miss time due to injury this season. The Astros were bit by the injury bug as well, but not as bad. That being said, I think the Yankees have a Mr. Glass feel to them. They're the more injury-prone team of the two. While they embodied the "next man up" mentality this season, the Astros did as well. The difference lies in the fact that one of their biggest bats (Giancarlo Stanton) missed Game Two because of a right quadricep strain and is day to day, while the Astros biggest injury concern this past season just won Game Two via walk-off. Again, advantage Astros.

Managerial Experience

AJ Hinch > Brett Boone. There it is. I'm done with this section. If you need further explanation, seek help elsewhere because I don't have the crayons or enough three-line kindergarten paper to explain this to you.

Bottom line here folks: while the Yankees appear to have flipped homefield advantage by winning Game One, the Astros will #TakeItBack and win at least one or two in the Bronx. I'm calling it now: Astros in six, no more than seven. This team is just too damn good and too loaded to clam up and go home like they did last year against the Red Sox. If they only win every Verlander and Cole starts in this series (or maybe squeak out another), they got this series in the bag. Like I mentioned last week, there's no need to panic. this team is fully capable of winning another World Series. Let's take it one game at a time and keep the faith.

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Astros defeat the Rockies, 5-2. Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images.

Hunter Brown struck out seven in six scoreless innings and Chas McCormick drove in two runs as the Houston Astros used a big first inning to beat the Colorado Rockies 5-2 on Tuesday night.

Brown (5-5) allowed two hits to win his fourth straight start and help the Astros tie a season-high with their sixth consecutive win.

Jake Meyers tied a season high with three hits and Jose Altuve had two hits and an RBI as the Astros moved within a game of .500 at 39-40.

Michael Toglia hit a solo home run for Colorado with one out in the ninth and pinch-hitter Jacob Stallings walked with two outs. But Josh Hader struck out Brenton Doyle to end it.

It was the fourth loss in five games for the Rockies and their 10th consecutive loss at Minute Maid Park dating to Aug. 15, 2018.

The Astros jumped on starter Austin Gomber (1-5) for five runs in the first inning after scoring four runs in the opening frame of an 8-1 win over the Orioles on Sunday.

Altuve hit a leadoff single and stole second base before scoring on a single by Alex Bregman. Yainer Diaz and Jake Meyers drove in runs before McCormick smacked a line drive to center field to score two more.

Gomber settled down after the tough first inning, allowing only one single over the next four innings. He allowed eight hits and struck out four in 5 1/3 innings for his fourth straight loss. He was lifted after a double by Meyers with one out in the sixth.

The Rockies didn’t get a hit until Ezequiel Tovar singled to start the fourth inning, but he was erased when Ryan McMahon grounded into a forceout. Brendan Rodgers singled after that before Brown retired the next two batters to end the inning.

Seth Martinez hit Doyle with a pitch to start the eighth and McMahon singled with one out to send him to third. Rodgers singled to right field to score Doyle and make it 5-1.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rockies: OF Charlie Blackmon (right hamstring strain) stayed in Denver to work out this week, but manager Bud Black said he’s doing better. Black added that Blackmon, whose stint on the injured list was backdated to June 19, should be able to return the first day he’s eligible to come off the IL.

Astros: OF Kyle Tucker (bruised right shin) remains sore but is making progress, according to manager Joe Espada. Tucker took swings off a batting tee this weekend and Espada said the next step is to do some work in the outfield.

UP NEXT

Houston RHP Spencer Arrighetti (3-6, 6.36 ERA) opposes RHP Ryan Feltner (1-6, 6.02) in the series finale Wednesday.

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