WASHINGTON — Getting to the bottom of how the Astros find themselves in a two-games-to-none deficit in this World Series is fairly easy.
And it’s something to which Yankees fans certainly can relate.
After featuring one of the most productive offenses in the majors this season, the Astros have fallen flat.
Not just in the World Series against the Nationals but in the postseason overall.
And if they’re going to make this a series of any significant length, that likely needs to start Friday night at Nationals Park in front of what is expected to be a rabid crowd that will be seeing the first World Series game in this city since 1933.
“I think winning the at-bats when the game can turn is critical,” AJ Hinch said Thursday before his team went through a partial workout here. “They’ve [the Nationals] done a good job of making contact. They’ve done a good job of finding holes. I think we’ve put up some competitive at-bats in those situations, but not always coming through with the big base hit.”
Two games into this series, the Astros are 3-for-17 and the Nationals are 7-for-21 with runners in scoring position. In the postseason, the Astros are hitting .175 (17-for-97) with runners in scoring position.
“We’ve just got to do a better job,” said Alex Bregman, who is in a 4-for-26 slide in his last eight postseason games (though with eight walks), beginning with ALCS Game 1 against the Yankees. “And that’s baseball. You go through stretches throughout the season where you don’t swing the bat or pitch or play defense the way you want to play it. I think it takes one day to stop the bleeding. You play good one game, the bleeding stops. Panic stops. You start playing the way you want to play.’’
It is a dramatic turnaround for an Astros club that led the majors in average (.274) and OPS (.848), among other categories. Houston ranked 10th in average with runners in scoring position (.268) and fifth in such situations with an .855 OPS (the Yankees were first in both categories with RISP, hitting .294 with an .890 OPS).
“It’s hard unless you go through every single scenario where you feel like you have to maximize your opportunities,’’ Hinch said. “I just think we’ve got to be better across the board in putting more pressure on them and maybe separating ourselves a little bit and having them feel what it’s like to have a big inning put up against them.”