Houston Astros to face Boston Red Sox in ALCS

CHICAGO – No, they haven’t left. Much to the chagrin of many around baseball, the Houston Astros – a franchise always hated , laughed a...

CHICAGO – No, they haven’t left.

Much to the chagrin of many around baseball, the Houston Astros – a franchise always hated, laughed again and even dragged by a cloud of suspicion for cheating in his 2017 World Series winning season – keep winning.

With a 10-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, the Astros capped a three-game victory over a divisional series to advance into familiar territory, the American League Championship Series, for the fifth consecutive year. They are the first franchise to compete for five consecutive AL pennants since the Oakland Athletics did so from 1971 to 1975.

“To come out this season and have to face the music, so to speak, and play well and win our division and come here to win on the road, it’s very cool and it’s very impressive from the group of guys that we have and the guys that came before, ”said Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr.

Starting Friday in Houston, the Astros will face the Boston Red Sox in a rematch of the ALCS 2018 Red Sox, who won the World Series that year, is led by manager Alex Cora, who was the bench coach of the Astros during the infamous 2017 season and was subsequently suspended for the 2020 season for his role in the program. illegal theft of Houston signs.

Although the Astros haven’t won a championship since 2017, they have come close – dropping a decisive seventh game of the 2019 World Series against the Washington Nationals – and have remained an eternal contender.

Not even a Major League Baseball investigation, after the cheating allegations come to light in November 2019, and the resulting punishment, could slow the Astros down. Their general manager, Jeff Luhnow, and their manager, AJ Hinch, lost their jobs and were suspended. Opposing players and fans, when they returned to stadiums after a 2020 season held largely without crowds due to the coronavirus pandemic, have since released their fury against the Astros in the form of signs, boos, hits and strong words.

“I never really hear them laughing or saying much,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said of his players. Added The Carlos Correa Astros shortstop, “We don’t pay too much attention to it. At the clubhouse, everything is positivity.

Still, the Astros won. Under Managing Director James Click and Manager Dusty Baker, both hired from outside the organization after the fallout from cheating, the Astros reached the ALCS against the Tampa Bay Rays last season and lost a win before another World Series appearance.

This season, the Astros have continued their proven formula of relentless offense, vacuuming defense and a strong pitching staff. They won 95 games, winning their fourth AL West Division title in five years. And in October, they – again – posed a tough challenge for their opponents because their hitters dominated baseball scoring during the regular season and were the hardest to take down.

Over the years, stars have left (starter Gerrit Cole and outfielder George Springer), some have injured themselves (starter Justin Verlander) and others have appeared (outfielder Michael Brantley and Kyle Tucker). But the Astros have remained a formidable force because of their core group: first baseman Yuli Gurriel, second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman and Correa. According to Elias Sports Bureau, these four have made more playoff games together (now 61) than any other teammate in MLB history.

The talent and experience of this group showed itself again in October. White Sox designate hitter Gavin Sheets gave his team a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a solo explosion. But the Astros line is a buzz saw.

“We kind of set them apart in every aspect of the game from Game 1 to today,” said McCullers Jr., who left Tuesday’s game after four innings with elbow discomfort. Five of his teammates combined for five scoreless innings of relief.

“We were the best team,” he added.

The Astros, too, had extra motivation. After the White Sox won Game 3 in Chicago, reliever Ryan Tepera vaguely accused the Astros of continuing to steal signs at their stadium in Minute Maid Park. The Astros, however, bristled with continued criticism for having performed equally well at home and on the road this season.

“I don’t think it’s going to stop anytime soon,” McCullers Jr. said of the skepticism. “All we can do is keep doing our thing, keep winning.”

Correa added of Tepera: “It’s unfortunate he had to say those words because we came out hungry.”

As Altuve faced more boos and chants of “cheat!” cheater! ”In the third inning, White Sox starter Carlos Rodon hit his opponent in the left arm with a stray pitch. Altuve dropped his bat and ducked his head, and Chicago fans cheered. He quickly clapped. stole second base, unfazed by all the taunts he had received all year.

“If you’re careful about something else, you might not be able to hit,” Altuve said. “You have to be 100 percent focused.”

The mood quickly changed as Bregman and designated hitter Yordan Alvarez weathered Rodon’s tight shots with two strikeouts and shot goals to charge the bases. Then came Correa’s grueling blow.

Rodon edged Correa, 0-2. But when he tried to squeeze through another fastball high at 97 miles per hour, Correa was ready. He adjusted his swing on the court just above the strike zone and put it aside left field for a brace that gave Houston a 2-1 lead.

Standing at second base, Correa looked at the Astros dugout and pointed to his wrist, where he would normally wear a watch. “You know what time it is, baby: it’s October,” he said later.

The Astros, of course, didn’t stop there. They took a 5-1 lead in the fourth inning when wide receiver Martin Maldonado produced a run with a single and Bregman, swinging on a 3-0 pitch, added two more with a double. It continued from there, with a three-point rally early in the ninth, pushing the score to 10-1.

“It was a pretty classic victory for the Astros,” said McCullers Jr. “Good pitcher, good defense, quick hitting. Far from home, imagine that.

As they continued to streak on more runs, reality took hold in the guaranteed rate field and all of baseball: The Astros are back – again.

“I don’t know how they feel,” Correa said of his opponents, “but we’re not tired of being here.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Houston Astros to face Boston Red Sox in ALCS
Houston Astros to face Boston Red Sox in ALCS
Newsrust - US Top News
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