Astros Take 2-0 Lead Over A's in ALDS: Four Thoughts

George Springer had two more dingers in the Astros win over the A's.
George Springer had two more dingers in the Astros win over the A's. Photo by Jack Gorman

The Astros leapt out to a two-game-to-nothing lead over the Oakland A's in their best-of-five American League Division Series Tuesday in a 5-2 game leaving them just one win away from another trip back to the American League Championship Series.

The bats broke out once again with three home runs including two from George Springer while Framber Valdez continued his stellar play this year giving up just two runs on five hits with four strikeouts in seven innings of work. The bullpen played mop up duty with Enoli Peredes and Ryan Pressly going two scoreless and giving up just one hit.

On Wednesday, the Astros can close it out with a three-game sweep and prepare to meet the winner of the Rays-Yankees matchup. Until then, here are our thoughts.

Be careful who you mess with, Mike Fiers.

The sun caused a few problems for players today including an early home run in which George Springer looked up and shrugged because he couldn't see the ball as it went over the fence. Former Astro, and center of the cheating scandal, Mike Fiers, was seen in the A's bullpen presumably making fun of Springer's inability to see the ball. Shortly thereafter, Springer got his revenge with his first home run of the game. Moral of the story: Don't tug on Superman's cape.

Jim Crane needs to open up his wallet for George Springer.

With two home runs, Springer now has the second most postseason home runs in history at Dodger Stadium. he also moved into the top ten all time in playoff dingers, surpassing Babe Ruth among others. With his impending free agency, it seems clearer than ever that the Astros should do whatever they must to retain him. They probably won't be able to afford it, but they have to give it a shot.

Framber Valdez is the real deal.

The young lefty was absolutely lights out on Tuesday. While he only had four strikeouts, he was never in real trouble and induced 10 straight groundouts before the final fly ball of his plus-100-pitch appearance. Despite all the injuries including a troubling report that Zack Greinke is being examined by a doctor for arm soreness, the youthful pitching staff of the Astros has had to step up and they have in a big way. The future looks bright on the mound.

This improbable run is very 2020 for non-Astros fans.

Considering the cheating scandal and the pandemic, most baseball fans had really just one thing on their wish list this year: an early exit for the Astros. It seems having a giant chip on their shoulders appeals to this team, that and all that playoff experience. If they manage to get to the ALCS (forget the World Series) and face the Yankees again, it will be one of the most hated matchups in years. And we are totally here for it.
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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