Astros Reach Third World Series in Five Years: Four Thoughts

ALCS MVP Yordn Alvarez.
ALCS MVP Yordn Alvarez. Photo by Jack Gorman
The Astros finished off the Boston Red Sox in six games in the ALCS winning 5-0 at Minute Maid Park on Friday night. With a masterful pitching performance by rookie Luis Garcia and a huge night from Yordan Alvarez, the Astros will advance to their third World Series in five seasons.

The Astros shut down the Red Sox for two straight games and relied, once again, on timely hitting to move on to yet another World Series. Game 1 is Tuesday night against either the Dodgers or the Braves. Currently, the Braves hold a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven NLCS against Los Angeles. Here are some thoughts as we close out the ALCS.

Youth movement on full display.

For all the fanfare over the experience the Astros carry on their roster, it is their younger players that have been carrying the day. Whether it was Framber Valdez or Luis Garcia on the mound, or Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker at the plate, these playoffs have seen a surge by some of the young talent on this team. It should give the front office confidence that the squad is deep enough to continue these kinds of runs for a while.

For all the hitting, the Astros shut down Boston's lineup.

The Astros outscored the Red Sox 22-1 from the eighth inning of Game 4 until the end of Game 6, including a shutout in the final game of the series. The Sox had three grand slams in the first three games of the series, but could barely muster a run thereafter. The Astros adjusted their pitching and figured out to pitch to one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball.

Alvarez wins ALCS MVP.

It's pretty incredible to realize that the Astros DH is only 24 years old and still getting better. Alvarez was dominant in Game 6 going 4-4 with a triple, two doubles and a single.  This is on top of his monster game against the Red Sox in Game 5, making him a deserving series MVP. After returning from an injury-plagued 2020, Alvarez has regained his form and been one of the team's best hitters. And he has stepped up significantly in the postseason.

Astros have something to prove.

Let's be clear, this Astros team wants to prove that 2017 wasn't a fluke or, even more importantly, not a result of the cheating scandal that shook the entire ballclub. Given the number of players who only joined the team recently, in theory, that should make accomplishing that goal easier. But the Astros remain the most hated team in baseball, so the only people they have to prove anything to is themselves. And they're now just four wins away from that.
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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