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.
After a rough Game 1 in the American League Division Series, Tim Anderson was back to business at the plate on Friday afternoon.
In fact, with three knocks in Chicago’s 9-4 loss to the Astros in Game 2 of the American League Division Series on Friday afternoon.
TA7 Breaking Records
Anderson tied an MLB record with 12 hits through his first five playoff games.
Then he broke the record, but the MLbro’s 3-for-5 performance wasn’t enough to help his Chicago White Sox even up the series.
The Game 2 defeat now places the White Sox, down 0-2, on the brink of elimination as they return to the Southside for this best-of-five series.
Anderson’s playoff batting average rose to .444 with his three-hit day. In Game 1, Anderson was 1-for-4.
Running Out Of Time
But the team considered by many to be a World Series favorite has continued to struggle with runners in scoring position.
These kinds of moments were few and far between.
The 77-year-old Tony Larussa has been outmatched by 72-year-old Dusty Baker so far. The Hall of Fame manager needs to figure out a way to get his team back in the series.
Lacking Clutch Hits
Despite scoring four runs in Game 2, the White Sox were a woeful 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, stranding nine in the process.
This has led to their eventual downfall in each game, but even more so in Game 2.
The White Sox had multiple opportunities to put the game out of reach, but simply didn’t capitalize.
The series now shifts to Guaranteed Rate Field, where the White Sox had the best home record in baseball during the regular season.
After failing to secure a much-needed split in the first two games, any idea of a World Series for Anderson and the White Sox must be put on hold for now. It’s officially win or go home everyday from here on out.
Dusty Baker’s quest to win that elusive first world championship couldn’t have started in better fashion as the Houston Astros put the squeeze on the Chicago White Sox in game one of the American Division Series at Minute Maid Park.
H-Town’s fabulous Baker boys played rough with Chicago starter Lance Lynn and Dusty’s decision to start Lance McCullers paid dividends in their 6-1 victory to take a 1-0 lead in the best of five series that continues Friday in H-Town.
MLBbro Making A Difference
Michael Brantley was a catalyst to the premature departure of Lynn. He went 2-for-4 and sent Lynn to the showers early by taking him down in the fourth inning.
Brantley’s two RBI single busted the game wide open in the fourth inning. The all-star outfielder laced a shot up the middle for a base hit that scored Jake Meyers and Jose Altuve’ which basically put the game on ice at 5-0.
Small Ball Is Real Baseball
The Astros started playing the hits in the third inning by resorting to their National League roots.
Despite being a prolific power hitting team they played station to station ball to open their lead.
Brantley’s base hit will be remembered as the final blow to Lynn’s evening, but his sacrifice bunt after Altuve walked helped lead to a wild pitch.
Alex Bregman then hit a grounder to third and Yoan Moncada decided to throw home but it was too late to get Altuve.
Suddenly the Astros had a 2-0 lead which felt larger than it was. Alvarez, the next batter, blasted a double off the wall in left-center that scored Bregman.
By the fourth inning there was no questioning the decision of which manager made the best decision who would be on the mound to start in game one.
Dusty Wins Round 1 In Battle Of OGs
White Sox manager Tony LaRussa made the choice to roll with experience instead of youth. He gambled and lost this time.
The Hall of Fame manager – who returned to the franchise that he first led to the playoffs in 1983 – opened the festivities by giving Lance Lynn the start which was a head scratcher to some especially when it didn’t work.
That decision made Baker’s life easier as Houston’s offense kept the pressure on the White Sox during what has to be considered a disappointing start by Lance Lynn.
Lynn, 34, who got the start ahead of the 27-year-old Lucas Giolito, had trouble with his location.
Giolito had been the most consistent starter during the second half of the season. Now he has the task of facing trying to deliver a clutch performance so they don’t head back to the southside of Chicago down 2-0 this weekend.
Houston Hitters Grind
Meanwhile, Houston batters showed patience and were masterful at spraying the ball over the field. They were poised like their manager who is looking for 10 more wins this season to make history.
Tony Kemp of the Oakland A’s did everything he could to help his squad fight for a playoff berth down the stretch. Kemp is 14-for-29 in his last 8 games including a 4-for-5 performance on Saturday in a blowout loss to Dusty Baker’s NL West-winning Houston Astros.
This Bro went to the show and played both sides of the fence. The Houston Astros defeated the Texas Rangers, 5-2 on Saturday in an interstate rivalry game. The Astros improved their record to 25 games over .500