If you haven’t seen much of the Houston Astros this year and you didn’t know why Jose Altuve is an MVP candidate, you got your answer in the bottom of the first inning yesterday. After George Springer struck out, Alex Bregman homered for Houston and then Jose Altuve stepped to the plate for the first time and also goes yard.
Nice way for the Astros to open the 2017 postseason with back to back jacks. And it was a moment of redemption for the guy who took responsibility for Houston being eliminated in 2015 because he only had three hits in the five game series against KC. But he wasn’t done, going yard two more times.
3 singles in 5 games in 2015, 3 homers in 4 at-bats yesterday.
If you’re anything other than a Red Sox fan, you had to love that. And if you’re a Sox fan, you have to tip your cap. My man just joined guys like Babe Ruth in the select group of players with home run hat tricks in the postseason.
And those weren’t cheap homers at all. 389. 415. 402. More than 1,200 feet of bombs. And no, it’s not remarkable for someone who’s listed at 5’6, 164. It’s remarkable for anyone, of any size, at any time. This isn’t a cute story about a guy who was thought to be too small and he proved everyone wrong. I mean, he was thought to be too small and he did prove everyone wrong, but he did that years ago. Now it’s just about a dude who’s a gold glover in the field and a silver slugger at the plate.
Jose Altuve may look like you, but he’s not you. And you are not Jose Altuve. Not just in baseball, but in anything. Take the thing that you do best, maybe it’s being a parent, maybe it’s your job, maybe it’s fantasy football, maybe it’s mowing the lawn. Whatever you think is your thing, you’re still not as good at your thing as Altuve is at his thing. George Springer, an All-Star in his own right, told Yahoo that Altuve is “a joke.”
So what did Altuve make of his performance? “I hit one and I was like, ‘Wow.’ And the second one is like, ‘Wow, what’s going on here?’”
And after the third one? “I got to wake up.” That’s why Altuve is the best, because he’s so humble. But don’t let him fool you, this isn’t a dream or an accident, this is the result of crazy preparation and hard work. This is a guy who didn’t hit more than three home runs in his first three years in the minors and he just crushed three in one postseason game. This is a guy who decided he wanted to hit for more power, so he went from 5 homers in 2013 to 7 to 15 to 24 last year and 24 this year.
And two of yesterday’s missiles came off Cy Young candidate Chris Sale, who picked a bad day to have a bad day. Except Sale put it another way: “Bad time to suck. Take it off the chin, be back here tomorrow working my nuts off, ready to go.”
Truth. Sale got absolutely shelled. 9 hits, 3 homers, and 7 runs in five innings, which is a worrying trend for the Sox. He gets rocked in September. He’s going to have to stop sucking and work his bleep off to get ready to go. Because you know Altuve isn’t happy with three homers in Game 1 and he’s already working his bleep off to get ready for Game 2.