Sports

Astros Down 0-1 After Game 1 Loss to Braves: Four Thoughts

Alex Bregman's defense hasn't made up for his lackluster offensive showing this offseason.
Alex Bregman's defense hasn't made up for his lackluster offensive showing this offseason. Photo by Jack Gorman
The Astros fell in Game 1 of the World Series 6-2 against the Atlanta Braves Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. Most of the Braves damage came in the first three innings against Astros starter Framber Valdez, who struggled and only made it two innings before being pulled despite his stellar start in Game 4 of the ALCS.

Both bullpens were excellent, but the Braves also got a good start from former Astro Charlie Morton who went two-and-a-third innings giving up just one hit before leaving the game with an injury (more on that to come). Game 2 is back at Minute Maid Wednesday with Jose Urquidy on the hill for the Astros. Here are our thoughts on Game 1.

Framber Valez regresses.

Astros starter from boom to bust. After an absolutely dominant eight innings in game four of the ALCS, he only managed two innings in game one of the World Series giving up 5 runs on 8 hits. It started badly with the first leadoff home run in the first game of the World Series ever. It went downhill from there. Unlike game four of the ALCS, Valdez could not keep his pitches down and left too many up in the zone, and the Braves took advantage.

Heart of the lineup struggles.

Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa were a combined 0-11 with six strikeouts. Bregman has struggled in the postseason slugging just .385 prior to the first game of the World Series. Altuve was batting .200 before the game started and Correa began the game with nine Ks. It's been a rough postseason for these three. Conversely, Kyle Tucker, Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez (along with Michael Brantley in this game) have continued to hit. Without the support of three of your best hitters, however, it doesn't mean much.


Bullpens were dominant.

Former Astros Charlie Morton left the game in the third inning with a leg injury that occurred sometime after a comebacker hit by Yuli Gurriel hit him in the right leg. Turns out, he broke his fibula and will be out for the entire World Series. But, the Braves only allowed two runs after Morton left. Similarly, the Astros bullpen continues to pitch extremely well giving up just one run on five hits with 10 strikeouts. Jake Odorizzi was on top of his game with five strikeouts in two-and-a-third innings.

Another really long game.

Major League Baseball's postseason has been littered with four-hour games including the first game of the World Series. On the east coast, the game wasn't over until after midnight. While hardcore baseball fans must love 30-minute innings, the average fan is likely falling asleep by the sixth. It's even worse when your team is losing. MLB must address the long games. How? Who knows? But, games that stretch to more than four hours get pretty tedious after a while.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke