Baker’s Calm During ALCS Storm Leads Astros Back To World Series

Baker’s Calm During ALCS Storm Leads Astros Back To World Series

His quiet bravado in the face of a raging storm was cool like that.  But deep in the recesses of what could have been another catastrophic postseason collapse Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker found his inner Jazzy B and brought his team back to life.

For the third time in five years the Astros are heading back to the World Series after defeating the Boston Red Sox 5-0 to win the American League Championship Series in six games.

Baker became the ninth manager and the first of color to lead teams from both leagues to the fall classic.

“There are some things hovering over me too,” Baker said. “I feel very fortunate to be around these guys with a chance to win the world series.”

Down 3-1 the calm personality of Baker and the confidence he exudes with his toothpick swag and fly glasses were the intangibles that seemed to be the difference in the series.

As the Red Sox were seizing command of the series with their two game offensive barrage Baker was stoic and never gave the impression his team was down.

“He’s a special individual,” said Carlos Correa. “He leads this team in the right way.’

When he was asked by Fox Sports what was the key to their comeback as he prepared to hoist the ALCS trophy, Baker opened up with an old championship baseball philosophy.

“Pitching, defense, and timely hitting,” said Baker. “And plus, these guys always believed that we were going to win. I mean, there was never a doubt in their minds.”

That simple refrain, which has been as much a part of baseball as stirrups and pine tar, was ultimately what turned the series in their direction.  Houston found the mojo that made them the AL’s most prolific offense during the regular season and it was if Baker knew that it was only a matter of time for them to break out.

 During the closeout game of the series all three phases were on display.  Luis Garcia went 5 ⅔ scoreless innings with a frustrating blend of blistering heat and offspeed pitches.  Yourdan Alvarez, the series MVP, drove what proved to be the winning run with a triple in the bottom of the first.

Astros catcher Martin Maldonado threw out Alex Verdugo after Travis Shaw struck out to kill Boston’s best shot at rallying in the seventh.

Kyle Tucker, who looked confused in two at bats earlier in the game, put the champagne on ice with a three run blast in the eighth.

The Astros scored 24 runs with two outs during the series and 18 over the final three games of the ALCS and went 12 for 32 with runners in scoring position Their pitching held the Red Sox to one run over the last two games.  

Ironically, the only Black American player in the Astros lineup, Michael Brantley, recorded the final out.

ALDS | Dusty Baker’s Rebirth Of Cool Led The Astros To A Close Win In Game 1

ALDS | Dusty Baker’s Rebirth Of Cool Led The Astros To A Close Win In Game 1

With Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale healthy and dealing, the Red Sox were poised to steal game one and take control of the American League Championship Series.

However, the Astros 72-year-old maestro behind the mask with his rubber gloves on remained calm and his team showed that same poise until the AL’s best offense got it’s ALCS legs under them.  

Dusty Baker’s cool transcends the Houston Astros clubhouse and the dugout.

On a night when the tone of the entire series could have shifted to New England, MLB’s new O.G. channeled his inner Tracy Morgan and his team rewarded him with a 5-4 comeback win in Game 1 of the ALDS, keeping home field with a big win in the series opener.

The complexion of the series hasn’t changed after one game.  But there was a moment that may come to personify what the Astros are about and how Baker continues to stroke their brilliance as he manipulates his lineup card.

During his interview with Fox TV’s broadcast team (Joe Buck and John Smoltz) Baker could’ve lost it.

 In the top of the third inning, while Baker was wearing a headset on the top step of the dugout in the midst of an answer, Red Sox center fielder Kiké Hernández jacked the first of his two homers.

As the game-tying shot began towering over the center field wall there was a glimpse of the demeanor that gives the Astros their swag which now has them within three games of another pennant.

His words in the moment without any provocation during what could’ve become one of MLB’s most embarrassing moments was simply, “oh God” to the live national TV audience.

Dusty could have flipped his lid. Instead, the O.G. was eloquent in the moment and recalled how he remained cool in it after the game. 

“It was awful,” Baker said in the post game press conference.  “I blame Fox for that.  When you’re doing live interviews something invariably happens. It’s not a good feeling when you know you’re live on air and you see that ball leaving the ballpark.” 

Baker was calm and that gave the Astros confidence which was as important as any managerial decision that was made in Game 1.

He didn’t flinch after a Jose Altuve’ error and was rewarded when the all-star second baseman responded with his 20th career postseason big fly in the sixth inning.

Perhaps the Astros are channelling the Digable Planets in a town where NASA monitors what’s going on in the heavens.

Baker has helped in the rebirth of cool that won them a division title, helped them advance through the wildcard round, and has them trending towards a return to the World Series.

Dusty is just cool like that, and so is his team!