HOUSTON, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 09: Chas McCormick #20 of the Houston Astros hits a two run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park on September 09, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The Houston Astros are on the brink of eliminating the New York Yankees later today in Game 4 of the ALCS. Unfortunately, the weather forecast does not look very promising, and there is a possibility that the game might be rained out. Some might think that it would behoove the Yankees for this game to be postponed to break the Astros momentum, but Nestor Cortes will be toeing the mound for New York. He has been their second-best pitcher all season behind Gerrit Cole.
Whenever the game is played, expect to see Lance McCullers Jr. to be on the mound for the Astros. You can also expect to see Chas McCormick in the lineup in centerfield. After battling three players in Jose Siri, Jake Meyers, and trade piece Mauricio Dubón all year for the starting centerfielder job, McCormick appears to be the last man standing. The Astros traded Siri away as part of the Trey Mancini deal, and Meyers was sent down to Triple-A to discover himself.
Leaving Dubón and McCormick to battle for the centerfield job down the stretch. Dusty Baker labeled Dubón as Justin Verlander‘s personal centerfielder because he had the better arm of the two. However, before the ALDS, Baker admitted that the Astros would likely need more defense and went with McCormick in Game 1. Meyers did return late in the regular season but was rarely used by Baker, but was added to the 26-man roster for the ALDS.
Meyers started in Game 2 of the ALDS because Baker felt he would match up better against a starter like Luis Castillo. Two strikeouts later, David Hensley pinch-hit for him, and Dubón replaced him in centerfield. Meyers would not play again in the ALDS and left off the ALCS roster vs. the Yankees. Game 2 of the ALDS was the only postseason game we did not see McCormick in the lineup. Baker was still evaluating which centerfielder to go with in the postseason.
McCormick would get two starts in centerfield in the ALDS, with two hits in seven at-bats resulting in a slash line of .286/.375/.286/.661.
He outhit Jose Altuve in the first series, but McCormick’s would really make his presence felt in the ALCS vs. the Yankees. McCormick is one of the main reasons Houston is up 3-0, one win away from another World Series appearance. Fans started the Chas Chomp, but after his Game 1 homer off Clarke Schmidt, the whole dugout, including Justin Verlander, was doing the Chas Chomp.
He went hitless in Game 2 vs. Luis Severino, but the Astros would squeak out a 3-2 win over the Yankees. McCormick had a critical homer in Game 3, in New York, off Cole with a runner on to give the Astros all the runs they would need. In the ALCS, he has a slash line of .333/.455/1.000/1.455 with two homers and three RBIs, one short of the entire Yankees roster’s four RBIs. Even with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees’ offense has been overmatched versus the Astros pitching. McCormick has also scored three of the 12 runs the Astros have plated in this series.
McCormick’s homers had an exit velocity of 103.4 mph and 103.8 mph. Granted, the one-off Cole was 335 feet to the opposite field in the shallow porch, barely bouncing off the wall. But the Yankees have home-field advantage and should be able to do the same.
During the biggest games of the 6-0 postseason for the Astros, McCormick is Baker’s choice in centerfield. During the regular season, McCormick played 57 games in center, 44 in left, and 15 in right. There was a stretch that Baker seemed not to play McCormick as much as Astros fans would have liked for him to have played.