The SI story was written in 2014 by Ben Reiter
Just in time
Justin Verlander is special. We know that. The Houston Astro’s did what they had to do to bring him in and he has not disappointed. Verlander has given up 5 hits in three starts. He, along with Dallas Keuchel, gives the Astro’s a great one two punch in the rotation. With all the devastation that the people of Houston have been enduring, its nice to see that they have a team that could take home a world series title. Houston’s line up is loaded and there is not an easy out to speak of. But baseball is a rhythm sport and Houston has had such a big lead out west, the division was already clinched in July. How do they get that edge back when a wild card team comes and steals game one? That will be the task of A.J. Hinch. We know they have the talent but will Verlander’s experience be enough to get the job done?
So you play second base, you’re 5’6 and you’re expected to have a great glove. You’re not expected to play 150 games and hit .348 with 24 homers, have 81 RBI’s and over 200 hits. But this is common place for Astro’s second basemen, Jose Altuve. He is the pint size leader of one of the best teams in the sport.
The Astro’s have a lot of stars but he gets the party started. It will be important for him to shine in the post season. The 27 year old from Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, needs to show that the Springers and the Corriea’s that the post season is different but not something they can’t conquer. Through the years we have seen younger players get swallowed up by the pressure of October. The offensive leader of the team needs to play well so his younger teammates will follow suit. Another veteran who could help the young hitters in a short series is Carlos Beltran. Beltran has been a playoff monster in his career, with the expection of taking strike three to end a series once. Sorry Mets fans - I had to. Beltran is the perfect DH in a short series despite not being as good as he used to be. He knows hitting and knows pitchers. This could be like a really good player coach situation for the Astro’s.
Prediction: Lose in 4-2 in the American League Championship series