The Houston Astros are on their way to a second straight ALCS. But more than that, they truly took the Cleveland baseball team apart. Despite hanging around for spells in both Games 2 and 3, Cleveland just didn’t stack up to the Astros. Just when you’d think you were out of the inning, they’d strike. Trying to get a rally going? Good luck. So, what’s it come down to? Well if you ask manager A.J. Hinch, then the answer is pretty simple.
“There is an extra gear that our guys have,” Hinch explained to ESPN’s Pat McManamon. “And once we hit the postseason, it looks like, as of right now, that our guys really, really turned it on.”
Part of that dominance? Last year’s World Series MVP, George Springer — who with two home runs on Monday would see his postseason total rise to 10. Not only that, but he has seven dingers in his last seven postseason games. Only three others — Carlos Beltrán, Reggie Jackson and Lou Gehrig — can claim that.
Though, that’s not where Springer’s focus lies at the moment.
“I’ll take it,” he said after learning about the statistic. “Those are pretty prestigious names to be around. It’s all great, but this is what it’s about. … our team, the organization, our city. So I’m happy to contribute.”
That said, will Springer ever truly appreciate the mark?
“…in 20 years, yeah, when I’m done playing,” he says.
Meanwhile, the Astros are awaiting the winner of the Yankees/Red Sox series to determine who they will challenge in the ALCS. As of this writing, it will be Boston — they’re up late in Game 4 and a win sends them through. And while the Red Sox did finish with the best record in baseball this season, the Astros are dangerous. This is what they’re all about now.
And we can bet they’ll find that extra gear again once the ALCS starts — regardless of who their opponent is.