The 103-win squad entered what many thought would be a hard-fought ALDS with the Cleveland Indians, but they officially put that notion to rest by completing a three-game sweep on Monday. They’re now the first reigning champions to return to the ALCS the following year since the New York Yankees did it in 2010.
And wouldn’t you know it, outfielder George Springer has seemingly found his power stroke again just in time for another deep run into October.
Although his .780 OPS, .169 ISO, 22 homers, 119 wRC+, 2.9 fWAR in 620 plate appearances were still plenty valuable to Houston, all of those numbers were a considerable step back from what he did in 2017 (.889 OPS, .239 ISO, 34 homers, 140 wRC+, and 4.6 fWAR in 629 plate appearances). Once he took the field against Cleveland, though, it was like a flip switched.
It’s only been three games, but he’s already the proud owner of a healthy 1.500 OPS off the strength of six hits, three of which have left the yard. There’s still plenty of postseason baseball left for him to play this year — and in the future, one would presume — but he’s already the franchise leader in playoff dingers.
With Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve hot on his tail, though, it’s not like he has an opportunity to take a breath. Most of Springer’s damage when it comes to the long ball has happened in a short period of time. Monday’s multi-homer performance now gives him seven in his last seven postseason contests, which puts him in exclusive company.
The Astros’ lineup is deep and formidable, but it’s that much more intimidating when Springer is setting the tone at the top of the order. And when you throw in a filthy pitching staff to boot, they appear to be in a tremendous position to win their second consecutive American League pennant.
Springer is just hoping his experience this time around is better than what it was against the Yankees last year. In 26 at-bats, he mustered just a .115/.233/.115 triple slash with no RBI and one run scored.
About Matt Musico
Matt currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s also written a book about how to become a sports blogger. You can sign up for his email newsletter here.
View the original article on The Sports Daily: George Springer's power has returned for another playoff run