The Houston Astros are back in the World Series for the third time in the past five years, but how exactly did they get there?
The Astros offense ranked first overall this season, and it was no question why. They had veteran presence in Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel, as well as younger players who really stepped up such as Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Jake Meyers.
The Astros combined for 221 home runs this season and have added on in the playoffs, despite battling injuries to key players early in the season, most notably Alex Bregman‘s hamstring injury on July 16. This lineup has been deep one through nine as there are no easy outs.
It was no question that this offense was going to take this team deep into the playoffs, but there was one area that did struggle…
Starting pitching was decent this season with a few bumps along the way. The Astros best pitcher this season by far was Lance McCullers Jr. who had his best season of his career with 13 wins, an earned run average of 3.16 and 185 strikeouts. Without veteran Justin Verlander, the young guns showed out this season. Framber Valdez had 11 wins and an ERA of 3.14. Rookie Luis Garcia had 11 wins as well and an ERA of 3.30. Jose Urquidy, while battling injuries most of the season, finished with eight wins, and an ERA of 3.62. Veteran Zack Greinke racked up 11 wins and an ERA of 4.16.
The bullpen, however, struggled heavily early in the season but has found its rhythm as of late. General manager James Click boosted the bullpen this trade deadline by adding Yimi Garcia, Phil Maton, Kendall Graveman, and Rafeal Montero.
This Astros bullpen has become perhaps one of the best bullpens seen in a while. They struggled thus far in the postseason in three of the ten games played so far. Otherwise, these relievers have been lights out, most notably Christian Javier, Ryne Stanek, and Ryan Pressly.
The Astros on paper are the favorites to win the World Series this year against the Atlanta Braves, and rightfully so. They have the best offense, and their pitching gets better with each game. It will be a fun series, but I predict the Astros will win it in six games.
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