I ATTENDED GAME 1 OF THE WORLD SERIES in Houston and my ears are still ringing. You could feel the energy throughout Minute Maid Park, and the Astros players were living off of it. Afterall, now is time for the Astros to prove that they have been here before --- this is their third Series in five years.
We know not everyone is a die-hard baseball fan like me, so for those Houstonians not familiar with America's National Pastime, here’s a friendly guide to some of the outstanding Astros to watch this Series.
We need to start with the Cuban sensation. This hitter is originally from Las Tunas, Cuba, and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016. He was then traded to the Astros for Josh Fields, which may be one of the most lopsided trades in MLB history. In 2021, Alvarez led the entire Astros in home runs, and also became the youngest player in Astros history to hit 50 career home runs.
Now he is wrecking his way through the playoffs.
In regard to his bat, he is one of the best in the playoffs right now. I won’t get too into the weeds with his stats, but he gets on base consistently from hitting. Right now, he has assisted in about 25-percent of the Astros runs scored in the post-season.
Originally known as Jose Luis Hernandez, the pitcher signed as an international free agent in 2015 with the Astros from Mexico. In 2019, he changed his name to Jose Urquidy at the start of the season as a tribute to his mother. Urquidy ended up having to have Tommy John surgery in 2016, but was able to bounce back.
Urquidy is very efficient in the strike zone, he loves to throw strikes and has great control of his fastball. This ability has allowed him to do very well in the playoffs, especially the World Series. He now has multiple career World Series wins when he pitches, and is the first Mexican-born pitcher to do so.
“Pay the man”, as they say.
Carlos Correa is one of the greatest shortstops - if not the greatest - in MLB right now. He was drafted as the first pick overall in 2012 by the Astros from Puerto Rico. He will be a free agent after this year so fans have been very vocal about wanting to re-sign him.
Correa has been a monster in the playoffs. He is known for his glove by making incredible defensive plays, but his bat is where he shines. For the Astros, he leads the team all-time in most postseason runs batted in, and he is 5th all-time in MLB history. A lot of his runs situationally put the Astros in the lead in later innings, like his incredible walk-off homerun vs Tampa in 2020.
The Astros Bullpen
I started this wanting to highlight specific players, but it’s important to bring up the entire bullpen. Seen as a weakness during the regular season, which they were, the bullpen is one of the Astros’ strengths this World Series. This bullpen is completely different from last year’s.
Kendall Graveman, Yimi Garcia, and Phil Maton were added at the trade deadline, while Ryne Stanek and Jake Odorizzi were signed as free agents in the Spring. Ryan Pressly, Brooks Raley, Blake Taylor, and Cristian Javier were on the team last year. As a group, they have only allowed one run over the past two games. This has been done in 11 innings, which is very impressive. Being able to keep the score down through the late innings will make this team very successful in the World Series.
Last but not least, we have the MVP Jose Altuve. Altuve is one of the greatest stories in MLB history. He is from a poor upbringing in Venezuela, where he would play at an old baseball field with used and worn gear. The Astros weren’t originally going to sign him but a scout pushed hard for him. Houston would end up signing the 16-year-old for $15,000 in 2007.
Years later, Altuve has cemented himself as one of the greatest Astros ever. He has won multiple awards, including MVP, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, and several All-Star selections. Over the past five years, there hasn’t been a more dominant hitter in the playoffs than Altuve.
During this year's World Series, he tied Bernie Williams at 2nd for most MLB home runs in postseason history. That number is 22 homers. He is also notorious for making the entire city of New York City cry when he sent the Astros to the 2019 World Series off a walk-off home run vs the Yankees.
I don’t think the Big Apple ever recovered from it.
The Astros head to Atlanta, tied 1-1, to play three games at Truist Park. If Houston can take two wins in Atlanta, that would mean Houston could win the World Series in Game 6 in Houston.
It will be an event that would ignite every person in this city, and the individuals mentioned here are the ones who could help make this dream come true.
The Astros will he holding watch parties while they are in Atlanta, starting at 5 p.m. Oct. 29 – 31 at Minute Maid Park. For more information go to Astros.com/watchparty.