I must say I did not think the Rangers would bounce back and win both games six and seven in Houston after falling behind 3 games to 2. Last night the Rangers and their Hall of Fame Manager, Bruce Bochy, defeated the Houston Astros 11-4 in game seven of the American League Championship Series. It was a fascinating series and a fascinating game that turned in the first inning when the Rangers plated three runs with key stolen bases, yes, stolen bases making a difference. Bochy did his usual magical Bochy things squeezing three innings from an obviously reduced Max Scherzer and immediately bringing in Jordan Montgomery, another left-handed starter in relief to stem any Houston rally.
Adolis Garcia likely had the greatest league championship history EVER, as a batter. He single-handedly demolished the Astros this series.
Bochy is now 7-0 in elimination games, an unbelievable stat.
“I didn’t know if I’d get back in it. And here I am. I know how blessed I am. We’ve had our streaks. We’ve had our injuries. They keep getting up. To come in here and beat such a great team like Houston — and congrats on their year. But it’s great to be wearing the horns in Texas.”
He is also 4-0 in game sevens! For Dusty, well it was another game seven heart-breaker but those are the breaks.
The road team won every game in this series, just incredible really. The Astros were 7-22 in their last 29 home games! OUCH! The difference in this series, hard to believe, is that the Rangers had a bit more pitching depth and a lot more hitting depth than the Astros. What happened to Framber Valdez?
It’s no accident that all four teams that made it to the League Championship Series relied on some mix of solid starting pitching, defense and the big hit or in the Rangers’ and Phillies’ case, excellent power hitting up and down the line up. Hopefully MLB owners are watching and realizing the era of an Analytics-first baseball club building mentality needs to be put to rest. It’s no accident that the two American League finalists this year are both helmed by old-school Managers with great instincts for the game, regardless of their other characteristics or faults. When you have a difference-maker Manager like Bruce Bochy it gives your team that extra edge, especially in the postseason. Want an example? In the first inning last night the Astros starting pitcher, Cristian Javier was coming into the game perhaps the hottest postseason starting pitcther but not exactly known for his defense and for holding runners on. So, the Rangers steal two bases, by Garcia and Carter. Both would end up scoring. Both stolen bases figured in the rallies. That little edge, that little sense for the game has Bruce Bochy (and his staff) written all over it.
Congratulations Bochy! We miss you.