HOUSTON -- Tuesday's Game 1 of the World Series played out like many Astros games have played out this postseason in that they left a ton of runners on base. Except this time, Houston didn't find a way to win. ( ).
"It starts with me. I was horrible all night," AL MVP candidate Alex Bregman said following Game 1. "... I've been terrible this postseason."
Bregman went 0 for 4 with a walk and three strikeouts Tuesday night -- "The only productive thing I've done in the last few weeks," he said of the walk -- and twice he struck out with men on base. He struck out with runners on the corners and one out in the first inning, and with a runner at first and one out in the third.
"Taking fastballs for strikes. Taking sliders for strikes," he said. "Swinging at bad pitches out of the zone. Better take my bat home and sleep with it."
The three-strikeout game was Bregman's first since May 27, 2018, and overall this postseason he is hitting .231/.412/.385 through 12 games. The on-base percentage is great, but everything else is not. Bregman is 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position this postseason and the Astros as a team have struggled in those situations:
- Runners in scoring position: .185/.248/.348
- Men on base: .230/.286/.366
Since the beginning of the ALCS, the Astros are 8 for 58 (.138) with runners and scoring position and 22 for 108 (.204) with men on base. That includes 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position in Game 1, and one of the three hits was an infield single that did not score a run. The Astros have had no trouble starting rallies. Finishing them has been an issue.
"Right now for me, I don't feel the adjustments that I need to make," Bregman said. "Everything's quick. Normally, I'm a lot slower in the box, movement-wise. I've got to figure it out ASAP. I've got to be better."
Bregman has not been hitting much, but he is drawing walks (11 in 12 postseason games), which stops him from being a black hole at the plate. The batting eye is still working and he's finding a way to contribute even when he doesn't get base hits. Bregman is controlling the strike zone, and as long as that is happening, damage could follow at any moment.
The Astros were able to advance to the World Series despite team-wide ineffectiveness with men on base. At some point that will have to change. Forcing Max Scherzer to throw 112 pitches in five innings is good, but letting him off the hook with only two runs allowed is how you lose a World Series game. Bregman is not the problem, but he is part of the problem.
"Definitely failed enough in this game to know what it takes to get back up. That's just hard work. That's it," he said. "Gotta figure this (expletive) out."