ALDS: Astros, Cole Finally Tame the Rays
Now, this is a lineup that can lay some serious lumber into an early inning.
And every other inning, too, for that matter.
So, while the St Louis Cardinals got the headlines for a 10-run first inning explosion that even they probably can't explain, the Houston Astros settled for one of their routine patented attacks to open Game 5 of the ALCS.
As opposed to, say ...
- the Washington Nationals, who needed to deploy their starters in all sortsa roles to survive a five-game series, or
- the Rays themselves, who damn near created the concept of pitchers as interchangeable parts ...
The 'Stros are stocked with a killer starting rotation and an effective bullpen. They are built for the long haul of a seven-game series.
Cole put on a clinic, punching out 10 while allowing a mere two hits and a pair of walks. All he needed for support was his hitters' opening salvo, and this series was in the books:
Simply put, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash had run out of buttons to push.
And the Astros may have taken longer than the Yankees to set up what should be a monumental post-season classic, but they're battle-tested and they're there.