• Brian L. Barefield

2020 Disappointment, Brings Astros Joy In 2021

Minutes after the Houston Astros lost Game 7 of the 2020 American League Championship Series to the Tampa Bay Rays, there was a strange look on the faces of most of the Astros players.

There was some disappointment due to the missed opportunity to go to another World Series. The Astros players also had a look of hope, knowing that this would not be the end of a dynasty that was built in 2017. Players had the confidence to know that they could get back to another ALCS, and if that happened, they would not come up short again.

Fast forward to 2021, and it looked as if the Astros would find themselves on the losing end of another ALCS. The Boston Red Sox had all the momentum, as they led the best-of-seven series 2-1 at home and headed towards a commanding 3-1 lead before a solo home run by Jose Altuve in the top of the eighth inning of Game 4 tied the game. That seemed to awaken the Astros bats as they would score seven more runs in the next inning and even the series at two games apiece.

After being outscored 21-8 in two consecutive losses to Boston, Houston outscored the Red Sox 23-3 over the next three games to clinch the American League Pennant and move on to their third World Series appearance in the last five years.

“It means a lot obviously,” said second baseman Jose Altuve. “It was a team effort. Everybody did something to make this dream come true, even though it is not done yet, but we are going to the World Series, and we are really happy.”

One player forced to be a spectator in last year’s ALCS was designated hitter Yordan Alvarez who was sidelined after having surgery on both knees.

Alvarez, who won the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year Award, made sure that his presence was felt in the 2021 ALCS. He imposed his will on the Red Sox pitchers by batting .522, five extra-base hits, seven runs scored, six RBIs, and one home run. Those impressive numbers earned him the 2021 ALCS MVP and pushed the Astros to four victories away from their second World Series title.

“Super happy,” Alvarez said in the postgame press conference with the MVP trophy. “I want to give thanks to God for everything and the opportunity to be here. It is incredible. I didn’t imagine myself coming out of surgery on both knees and being able to do this as quickly as I did. It was unbelievable for me to be able to come back and do what I did.”

The Astros will now prepare to take on the Atlanta Braves, who knocked out the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the National League Pennant. Games 1 & 2 of the World Series will be played at Minute Maid Park starting on Tuesday.

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