Mandatory Credit: Photo by John Angelillo/UPI/Shutterstock (13479709q) Houston Astros Yuli Gurriel runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning to give the Astros a 2-1 lead against the New York Yankees in game one of their American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Wednesday, October 19, 2022. Alcs Yankees Astros, Houston, Texas, United States – 19 Oct 2022
These Astros have so many players who can beat you. Against the Mariners, it was Jeremy Pena and Yordan Alvarez who carried the team to victory.
In Game 1 against the Yankees in the ALCS, it was some old school Astros. Of course there was Justin Verlander pitching six strong innings, with three hits, one earned run and 11 strikeouts. He retired the last 11 hitters he faced.
The bullpen gave up just its second run of the postseason when Rafael Montero allowed a homer, but that was it. He combined with Hector Neris and Ryan Pressley, who locked it down with the last four outs to close things out. Another one of the old guard getting it down.
But it was the forgotten man, Yuli Gurriel, who hit the go-ahead homer to give the Astros a lead in a game they would go on to win 4-2. His home run changed everything.
Gurriel, last year’s batting champ, has struggled all year. But in the playoffs? He’s back. Yuli is hitting .368 in the postseason including his huge, clutch blast that gave the Astros a lead they would not relinquish. He was just 1 for 4, but what a huge 1 that was.
There were other heroes. Pena had a solo shot to add to the lead. Chas McCormick had a solo shot to do the same. They carried the offense. Pena was three for four; McCormick was two for three.
But it was the old reliables that got them home. Verlander. Pressley. And that man, Gurriel, who changed the whole thing to break a 1-1 tie.
That’s why these Astros are so good. They have so many players who can beat you. It is amazing that this team is 4-0 in the playoffs and Jose Altuve does not have a hit yet. That will come. His time will come. Just like it did for Gurriel.
And it’s all because the Astros are so good. Someone will step up if not Altuve. Pena has done it all postseason. So too has Gurriel, the forgotten man.
On Wednesday, he reminded us how good he can be, as he has many times in the postseason. And now? The Astros lead the best of seven series one game to none. A loss could have been devastating, because the Yankees were on short rest with a depleted bullpen. The Astros needed someone to step up. This time it was Gurriel.
Who will it be tomorrow?