No matter how Dusty Baker plays things behind the mask of cool the Houston Astros won’t beat the Boston Red Sox without the bat of MLBbro Michael Brantley AKA “The Professional.”
Michael Brantley Slump
Brantley’s picked the wrong nights to put his bat on ice — Games 2 and 3 of the American League Championship Series.
His record tying 15-game postseason hit streak came to an end as the Boston Red Sox pounded the Astros 9-5 and evened the series heading back to the bean.
One of the AL’s most prolific offensive players was a bystander in the batter’s box Saturday finishing 0-for-4 in an early evening matchup where those south Texas batting eyes were smiling on something other than the Astros.
They were done in by two historic grand slams in the first inning from J.D. Martinez and in the second inning from Rafael Devers.
Once down 8-0 Houston never quit though. They pecked away at Boston’s lead but could never get a crucial hit to put any real pressure on the Red Sox.
Brantley had a chance to deliver in fifth inning with two runners on base and two outs.
However, the at bat ended in a whimper when he grounded to second off Nathan Eovaldy to kill the rally which deflated a crowd whose energy had finally returned following the grand slams of the first two innings.
Traditionally Eovaldi and game one starter Chris Sale had been Brantley’s kryptonite. Coming into the 2021 ALCS, he was a combined 10-for-51 lifetime against the top two starters for Boston.
During his sizzling postseason run Brantley had 23 hits in 64 at-bats, with two doubles, three home runs, and 13 runs RBI.
He had previously hit safely in every playoff game he’d played in for the Astros. Brantley, was not only driving in runs, he scored eight times.
Blitzed In Game 3
Heading to Boston, they hoped things would change. Brantley went 1-for-3, but the game got out of hand early as Boston took a 9-0 lead by the third inning, en route to an 12-3 Red Sox win.
Houston wasn’t able to recover from that early death blow and the heart of the AL’s top offense continues to struggle.
Up To Dusty
Baker will have to find the tonic that will jump start the top of his lineup because the Astros can’t afford Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Brantley to remain in a slumber when they have been catalysts to their prodigious attack all season.
With Boston up 2-1, the ALCS remains up for grabs and the Astros are due for some big blasts of their own.