The history of the Houston Astros It has not been very different from what they are experiencing in this year’s playoffs, when they have been more winners playing on the road than in their own park, Minute Maid Park.
And that will be the setting for the outcome of the American League Championship Series against the Texas Rangers, who swept all three games at Globe Life Field to take command 3-2, and be one win away from qualifying for what would be their third consecutive World Series.
Houston is also seeking its fifth berth to the Fall Classic in the last seven years.
The sixth game of the Championship Series will be this Sunday from 8:00 pm and both teams have already announced their starting pitchers.
The Astros are scheduled to start with the Dominican Framber Valdezwho was punished by the Rangers last Monday, with seven hits and five runs, four of them earned, in just 2.2 innings.
Texas will start with Nathan Eovaldiwho also started the second game of the series in Houston and was the winner after pitching six innings in which he struck out nine and allowed five hits with three runs.
Valdez (0-2) is winless in these playoffs, as he also suffered Houston’s only setback against the Minnesota Twins in the Division Series.
It was Valdez’s loss to the Rangers on Monday that put the Championship Series at 2-0 in favor of Texas, after winning both games at the Astros’ home. Incidentally, it was also the Astros’ third loss in four games played at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs.
Something similar happened to the Astros in 2021 when in October they played 4-3 in their park, losing the sixth game of the World Series at Minute Maid Park against the Atlanta Braves, who emerged as champions.
In said Fall Classic they played 1-2 in their park. And two years earlier, in the World Series against the eventual champion Washington Nationals, they lost all four of their games in Houston, going 5-5 there in that entire postseason.
Starting tonight, however, they will have the first of two opportunities to try to prevent history from repeating itself. A decider will also be played this Monday at Minute Maid Park.
“What can I say? That we have to do it. You know, there are no words that can describe what we have to do, simply action“, responded Astros manager Dusty Baker to questions about whether he had a special message for his players because they haven’t played well in their park.
As had been anticipated, the Astros, who had been hitting very well during the regular season at the Rangers’ Globe Life Field, once again ruthlessly attacked opposing pitchers in their own stadium, and won the third, fourth and fifth games. with a run difference of 23-12, after scoring only four times in two games in Houston at the start of the Championship Series.
The Astros, the second team with the most home runs this October, with 18 (second only to Philadelphia’s 20), hit five in the three games in Arlington, including two by their second baseman, the Venezuelan Jose Altuve , one of them the three-run hit that was decisive on Friday in the 5-4 victory that broke the tie in the series.
That home run by Altuve, his third in these playoffs, came in the top of the ninth inning, when the Astros were losing 4-2 and the Rangers only needed three outs to go ahead in the series.
After a crucial decision by the Astros bench to pinch-hit Yainer Diaz already Jon Singleton replacing the eighth and ninth in the lineup, Jeremy Pena and the Puerto Rican Martin Maldonadothen came Altuve’s decisive three-run homer.
This occurred after the incident that occurred in the eighth when both benches were emptied after a ball hit the Cuban. Adolis Garcia. Baker was one of those expelled after the incident.
So at the press conference this Saturday, on the day off from the series, they also asked him if he had anything to do with the decision even outside the dugout. It was a move for which the Puerto Rican was given credit on social networks. Joe Espadabench coach of the Astros, but who assumed direction of the team after Baker’s expulsion.
“Those are things that, like I said before, I’m always one or two innings ahead. So I was telling the guys to get ready. Long before the action. So no matter who made the decision, we win”said Baker who did not look comfortable with the question.
“What was the reasoning for placing Diaz and Singleton in those important moments?” the same reporter questioned at the conference.
“Well, like I said, I don’t really feel like I need to understand the things that work. And we won,” Baker added.