Sean Pendergast

My Five Favorite Stats From the Astros' ALCS Win Over Boston

Jose Altuve's home run in Game 4 turned the tide for the Astros.
Jose Altuve's home run in Game 4 turned the tide for the Astros. Photo by Jack Gorman
The 2021 World Series begins tonight. After going nearly six decades with just one World Series appearance, the Astros are back in the Fall Classic for the third time in five seasons. Given baseball's lack of a repeat champion for a couple decades, the Astros are the closest thing to a dynasty that baseball has seen since the New York Yankees of the late '90s.

It's the Astros' job now to fully focus on the Atlanta Braves, and forget about the ALCS win over the Red Sox. Thankfully, focusing on the Braves is NOT my job. As a radio host and writer, I can still revel in the ALCS win over Boston for a few more hours. So let's do that. Let's take one last look back at the scintillating six game victory over the Red Sox by looking at five statistics and trends that embodied this series.

Here we go:

Jose Altuve's home run signaled a turning of the tide
Considering the circumstanced in the game and the precipice on which the Astros' season stood, six outs away from a 3-1 series deficit, this Altuve home run was the biggest hit of the series, reminiscent of Marwin Gonzalez's home run off Kenley Jansen in Game 2 of the 2017 World Series:

After Altuve’s home run tied the game 2-2, the Astros would go on two score seven runs in the ninth inning (all with two outs), and outscored the Red Sox by a score of 21-1 for the remainder of the series. So, from purely a functional baseball standpoint, this was a big turning point in the series. However, from a karmic balance standpoint....

The night before Altuve's home run, Eduardo Rodriguez poked the bear and flipped the karma
We all love Carlos Correa's "pointing at his invisible wristwatch" celebration, but we are all Astros' fans, so that is reasonable. Among the other 29 ball clubs, my guess is that people HATE that celebration. For the Red Sox, it certainly got their attention, as their Game 3 starter Eduardo Rodriguez decided to mock the celebration as he left the mound after the sixth inning in Game 3:
Ironically, while Rodriguez's manager Alex Cora hated this, Correa himself thought it was great!
Of course, it stands to reason that any Astro would love the opposing team poking the proverbial bear. Just ask Ryan Tepera of the White Sox about that. Hence, after Rodriguez pointed at his wrist, Astros outscored the Red Sox 23-6 for the remainder of the series. In Games 4, 5, and 6, the Red Sox went 0-19 with runners in scoring position, and went 10-90 (.111) overall from the plate. It was most assuredly NOT their time.

The Astros' two-out hitting success is unprecedented
Success offensively with two outs is one of those back breaking forces in baseball, kind of like third down offensive success in football. When a defense can't get off the field, it is completely deflating. Well, the Astros have been deflating their opponents like no other team in baseball history through the first two series this postseason According to STATHEAD, the Astros have 44 RBI with two outs this postseason, the most for any team prior to a World Series in baseball history. As a team, with two outs, the Astros have a 1.018 OPS, which is better than the career OPS of Mike Trout, the greatest player of this generation. So basically, with two outs, the Astros have collectively become Mike Trout this postseason.

The Astros' bullpen was practically invincible in their four wins
If there was an area of this team that made Astro fans skittish heading into the postseason, it was probably the bullpen, which was very average for most of the regular season.  The switch flipped to October, and the Astros' relievers have stepped up. Here are the Astros' bullpen's numbers in the four wins over Boston (number of relievers used in parentheses:

GAME 1 (7) — 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
GAME 4 (5) — 7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 10 K
GAME 5 (1) — 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
GAME 6 (4) — 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

TOTAL — 18.1 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 21 K, 0.49 ERA, 0.818 WHIP

If you add in the Game 4 win over the White Sox, the Astros' bullpen ERA and WHIP shrinks to 0.39 and 0.729, respectively. Amazing.

Yordan Alvarez is the truth, and he outhit the entire Red Sox team in Games 5 and 6
I would be remiss not to mention Yordan Alvarez, the easy choice for ALCS MVP, in some form or fashion in this post. I can tell you about his .522 batting average, his 1.408 OPS, and his two day cycle (single, double, triple, and home run) in Games 5 and 6. I think the easiest thing to do is point out that Yordan Alvarez had seven hits in the series final two games. The Red Sox, as a TEAM, had five. So basically, it came down to this:
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast