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My Keys To The World Series
I always like to put up my "keys to the game" or in this case series. It puts me out there committed to what I think and it sometimes proves I know what I am talking about.
Most people think this World Series is about pitching and the Astros have the advantage. But aside from Cole the Astros are suspect. Verlander has struggled the second time he has faced a lineup in the playoffs. Greinke has been all over the page. Sherzer for the Nationals is an ace like Cole but Corbin has been at times shaky. Strasburg and Sanchez were great last series but really have not had great years. So pitching is not a key to me, except that the Nationals have 4 proven playoff starters and the Astros have 3.
Key 1. The table setters. Greg Springer is the straw that stirs the drink for the Astros. For the Nationals, Adam Eaton does the same. Eaton has been hot, Springer has not. But Springer in my mind is a much better and more dangerous player. The table setter who is going hot in the series is a big key.
Key 2. Hot factor. Baseball has the smallest sample size of a season to determine a champion. So the hot team can win even if they are not the most talented. The hottest team is the Nationals right now with a win over streaking Milwaukee, the best team in baseball all year the Dodgers, and arguably the hottest team in baseball to that point the Cardinals. It the Nationals are still hot, watch out!
Key 3. Bad management. Managers will not win the series but they can sure lose it. The Dodgers had the Astros on the ropes 2 years ago until their manage pulled Rich Hill and wore out the bullpen which is what Houston took advantage of to win their first World Series. Last year he did it again by pitching his closer for two innings starting in the 8th inning in 2 games. The Red Sox took advantage of that in the 9th inning in both games. In the last series the Yankees had 2 men on with no outs in the first inning on Garrett Cole with one of their fastest players at the plate. They chose not to bunt and Cole escaped to a big win. So the manager that "blinks" first in this one will loose. You have to get 7 innings out of your big starters especially if the Astros play a bullpen game during the series. The managers also have to take advantage of every opportunity to steal a base or a run. Take an extra base, bunt, steal with 2 strikes on the hitter with 2 outs, hit and run. But don't over-manage. First manager who blinks will lose.
Key 4. The Altuve factor. Usually stop at 3 but this has to be added. Jose Altuve is one of those rare players who performs above his perceived ability on almost every occasion. He is such a positive presence that even the opposing teams like him even when he puts a dagger in their heart. If ANYONE else on the Astros had come up in the 9th against Chapman I think there would have been another game between Houston and New York. He just has the Jedi Mind Trick. With Bregman batting behind Altuve, you have to pitch to him. I have watched this guy for years and you can't help but like him even as a Ranger's fan. The key to getting him out is busting him inside and then confusing him with your other pitches (changing his eye level and never throwing the same pitch to the same location). He will get better as the series goes on and he sees more pitches by different pitchers. And as long as he is breathing Houston has a chance.
I am an Educator (27 years) who retired to Real Estate. After a long career coaching, teaching, working as an administrator and selling real estate in Texas, I "went coastal", moved to the Mississippi....
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