Congratulations to the Houston Astros for reaching the World Series for the second time in three years. There’s no secret to their secret recipe, other than they’re far-and-away the best team in baseball. Just take a look at what they did this year.
107 wins, most K's by pitching staff, record SLG%
Potential top-2 Cy Young finishers
Potential MVP, and Rookie of the Year
So far this playoffs, I haven’t been as impressed with their offense as I thought I would be. Going into the postseason, I thought Houston was going to coast their way to another title. Well, that hasn't been the case. In the Divisional Series, it took them five games to beat the Rays, and six games in the CS against the Yankees that included two walk-off wins.
In my opinion, this season the Astros have relied too heavily on the long-ball, and it’s becoming exposed in the playoffs. However, as the best team, they have been able to flex their talent and represent the AL in the Fall Classic.
Saying their offense has gone quiet this postseason would be an understatement. Take a look at the numbers during the ALCS. Altuve (.348 BA) and Brantley (.304 BA) lead the way, but outside of them, there was nobody else:
Astros' recipe for success: Timely Hitting
This World Series will be all about situational hitting for them. If they thought they had it tough against the Yankees rotation, they’re in for a rude awakening when they face Scherzer in Game 1 and Strasburg in Game 2. They will have to find ways to get guys on base and manufacture runs outside of round-trippers. Luckily for them, the Nationals rotation has allowed 6 home runs in a combined 7 starts this postseason.
There's an old saying that goes, "You can't stop them you can only contain them." Well, that applies to both of these teams starting rotations. For the Astros, if they can find ways to battle through at-bats, work the pitch count, and force the starters out of the game, they will fair much better against the Nationals bullpen.
One thing I believe does help the Astros is their veteran experience. They have been there, in the biggest moment, and won it all. They know what it takes to win, they have all the pieces. Now, it’s all about putting it together and finishing the puzzle.