The Astros exploded for 10 runs, beating the A's in Monday's Game 1 of the American League Division Series in Los Angeles. Lance McCullers, Jr. struggled as the starter, but the Astros bullpen bested the A's allowing no hits in five innings while the bats came to life and roughed up the A's pitching staff.
Those bats included a home run from Alex Bregman and a pair of long balls from Carlos Correa as well as four hits from George Springer and a pair of hits and two RBI from Jose Altuve. That group has had some fond memories in Dodger Stadium and they made a few more on Monday. Here are some thoughts on the win.
Stadium reversal so far, so good.
The Astros have played well in Los Angeles and that continued on Monday. In a strange reversal thanks to COVID, Houston is in LA for its series with the Dodgers and LA opens its NL division series Tuesday in Houston. It's an ironic twist considering their history with one another and the cheating scandal that embroiled the Astros in the offseason. Oh, and did we mention Mike Fiers, the guy who ratted out the Astros, is still a member of the A's pitching staff?
Playoff bats light up.
It's possible that it took 60-plus games for the Astros offense to get going or maybe it was just a one game fluke. Either way, the familiar core of the Astros showed up in a big way on Monday. If they are able to continue to get contributions from Correa, Bregman, Springer and Altuve, they will be very tough to beat even with the injuries to the lineup and youth in the bullpen.
Bill O'Brien got fired and the Astros went off.
When it was announced by the Texans during the game that head coach Bill O'Brien had been fired, the Astros were trailing. Not long after they were leading and they never relinquished their lead from that point on. Coincidence? We like to think it was providence.
Astros bullpen got the better of Game 1.
The A's have one of the better bullpens in the American League and the Astros are full of a bunch of young players. Yet, the Astros bullpen went five hitless innings striking out five and walking only one. Youngsters Enoli Peredes and Cristian Javier locked down the sixth, seventh and eighth in their first appearances ever in the playoffs. It has been a remarkable run by this young staff.