Houston lost 4-2 after one of the dumbest things you'll see in the 1st Inning, and then continued their extraordinary ability to not get the Big Hit. The Astros are down 0-2 in the Best-of-Seven series. Game 3 is tonight. Teams that win the first two games of a Best-of-Seven series win that series 85% of the time, and no one has done it since the 2004 Red Sox.
The Astros were 1x8 w/RISP, a day after going 2x8, leaving eleven men on base and 21 LOBsters in two games. George Springer was 0x3 w/RISP. Bregman and Tucker were each 0x2 with runners in scoring position. Houston got ten hits - eight of them were singles. Houston had five balls hit with an expected batting average over .500 that resulted in outs. The Astros were 10x36 (.278) with an expected batting average of .357 - meaning the Astros reasonably could have expected three more hits than they got. Of the 25 hardest-hit balls by the Astros this series, nine have been hits. The Rays had an xBA in Game 2 of .167.
I don't think the guys in the clubhouse feel this series is over. We've just got to come out and get one tomorrow.
*Jose Altuve - who had committed four errors all season - made two in three innings, including a back-breaking one in the 1st that directly led to Manuel Margot's 3-run home run. Altuve hadn't made two errors in a playoff game before. Dusty:
That's his first throwing error all year, and then he had two of them today. You're just hoping he isn't getting the yips...I just told him to flush it. I mean, this guy's been awesome for us. He's got to flush it and move on, or else it multiplies...There's not a whole bunch to say. [Tampa] got away two days in a row, but they can't keep getting away.
We haven't lost the series. We have to stay positive. We have to move forward and play better baseball in order to win the series. The error already happened. Nothing that can be done about that. No need to go back to it. Now we look forward and we have to go back tomorrow and win that game.
We were down 0-2 in the World Series last year with Urquidy and Greinke coming up next to pitch for us. It's not like we haven't been here before. We got to attack it like we did last year.
Correa and Altuve switched places in the shift to Lefties from the 4th inning on.
*Lance McCullers was great: 7IP, 4H/4R (1ER), 11K:0BB. He's the 8th pitcher in MLB postseason history to throw 7IP, allow four or fewer hits, strike out 11 or more batters, allow 0-1 ER, and lose the game. That's the ineptitude of this Astros offense so far. His 11Ks were the most since July 6, 2018 and it's just the fourth time he has struck out 11+ batters in a start. Dusty:
It's very frustrating, especially Lance - he pitched his butt off. He was better than Charlie Morton or any of those guys over there. Nothing to show for it. He was on his A-game today.
I texted [Lance] after the game. I said, 'Great performance. Sorry we couldn't come through for you.' That's the kind of game that you've got to win when your pitcher gives you a performance like that.
*The Rays have won three straight postseason games with 13+ strikeouts. They're the first team with 13+ strikeouts in two postseason wins in the same series since the 1997 Cleveland Indians in ALCS Game 3 and Game 6, and the first two do it consecutive games of a series.
*Carlos Correa hit his 5th home run of the postseason, trailing only San Francisco's Rich Aurilia in 2002, who hit six, for most home runs in a single postseason by a shortstop.
*Alex Bregman was 0x5, hitting every single ball off the bat hard, with exit velocities of 106.8, 99.5, 103.0, 103.1, and 98.4. The xBA on those were .670, .330, .380, .330, and .430. It's the 3rd postseason game in which he has had five PAs and not gotten on base.
*Jose Urquidy gets the ball for Game 3, with Greinke likely going in Game 4.
*I have to go get a COVID test. Bye.
*A Musical Selection: