Astros Bats Make A Huge Impact In Four-Game Sweep Over The A’s
Photo Credit/Houston Astros
Sometimes the past is an indication of what lies ahead in the future and for the Houston Astros, the end of the 2020 season turned out to be a precursor of things to come. Last year they battled hard just to make it into the postseason, but once they got there, they made a lot of noise and although their season ended in a tough Game 7 loss in the American League Championship Game, they knew exactly what adjustments needed to be done to start the 2021 campaign.
Houston (4-0) used a strong combination of hitting and pitching to take all four games from the defending A.L. West Champions Oakland A’s (0-4) including an impressive 9-2 win on Sunday. The Astros scored a combined 35 runs on the A’s averaging 8.75 runs per game which was almost as many as Oakland had for the entire series (9). They became the fourth team in Major League history to score eight or more runs in their first four games.
“Guys worked hard in spring training and they hit tirelessly in the cage and on the field,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “They played a lot of backfield games and B games to try and get themselves together and get their (batting) stroke together.”
As much as the runs scored in this series stands out. It doesn’t tell the complete story on how good Houston’s lineup was at the plate. Their .320 average for the series will be talked about, but it was also the 17 forced walks they forced on a good Oakland pitching staff that showed just how focused they were this series.
Also, worth noting is the eight home runs including three on Sunday and the 47 hits the Astros had in the series to show how patient they were at the plate.
“They were not going for the bait,” said Baker about the Astros hitters at the plate. “The objective, especially so early in the year where the pitch count is so important you push the pitch count up early and make them go to their bullpen almost every day. This is when you really score a lot of runs, in which we did.”
Houston will stay in California as they prepare to take on the Los Angeles Angels in a short two game series before heading back to Texas for their home opener on Thursday against Oakland.