And here we thought Chris Sale was going to give us some pitching on Thursday afternoon. Turns out, JosA� Altuve never got that memo. Instead, he accomplished something only eight others had done before him:
He hit three home runs in a postseason game. Whata��you don’t believe us?
In doing so, Altuve joined Albert Pujols, Pablo Sandoval, AdriA?n BeltrA�, Adam Kennedy, George Brett, Reggie Jackson, Bob Robertson and Babe Ruth in the record books. You could say that’s pretty good company.
A world in which Altuve slugs dingers is the world we all should want to live in. Unless you’re a Red Sox fan, of course. After all, up until 2015, it was the only thing missing from the second baseman’s game. During Altuve’s first three-and-a-half seasons, he combined to hit 21 long balls.
But he hit 24 during 2017 regular season alone. And 24 the season before that. And, 15 the season before that. Game 1 on Thursday afternoon quickly became the JosA� Altuve Show, but more importantly for Houston, they won by a final score of 8-2a��getting off to as good of a start as they could have hoped for.
Moreover, should Boston be worried by how rough Chris Sale looked? Is he running out of gas?
After two bonkers wild card contests, we were hoping to settle in with some pitching. Instead, Sale’s postseason debuta��yes, reallya��didn’t go according to the script: 5IP, 9H, 7R (all earned) and three home runs surrendered. He ate up five innings, but it ultimately didn’t matter.
That’s because Justin Verlandera��who even had to grind it out early ona��surrendered just two runs (earned) on six hits with three strikeouts. Verlander wasn’t perfect, but he was effective when it was most necessary. Meanwhile, Chris Sale was neither perfect nor effective.
Now the question is: can the sometimes wild Drew Pomeranz stop the bleeding?
He’ll get his chance Friday afternoon. But, the Red Sox will have to go against Dallas Keuchel. Pomeranz will also have to figure out JosA� Altuve, not to mention the rest of Houston’s unrelenting lineup.
And while he won’t hit three home runs every game going forward, he’ll continue to be what he’s been for the past six seasons: one of the toughest outs in baseball. Only this time, he’s not alone.