Heading into Saturday, the Houston Astros have yet to lose in the postseason this year.
It may not have been pretty at times, and they may have played an extra game’s worth of ball, but the Astros are 5-0 in the playoffs. They managed to fend off the upstart Mariners and have done just enough to take the first two games of the ALCS from the Yankees. And they have done this without anything from Jose Altuve.
Houston Astros could take next step when Jose Altuve heats up
For as much success as the Astros have had thus far, the same cannot be said of Altuve. He is 0-23 heading into Saturday, striking out eight times with as many walks (two) as times grounding into a double play. Counting his 0-3 performance in Game Six of the 2021 World Series, and Altuve has failed to get a hit in his last 26 postseason at bats.
This also leaves Altuve on the cusp of setting a playoff record no one would want. Robinson Cano holds the record for most at bats without a hit in a single postseason, going 0-29 in 2012. Two more games without a hit could push Altuve past Cano. At least he has a long way to go before surpassing Dan Wilson, who had a 0-41 stretch in the playoffs to set the overall record for futility.
It would seemingly be a matter of time before Altuve gets back on track. He had another solid performance during the regular season, posting a .300/.387/.533 batting line in his 604 plate appearances, hitting 28 homers and 39 doubles while stealing 18 bases. He is not showing any signs of slowing down.
That should also be a warning to the Yankees and whichever team advances out of the NLCS. The Astros are already doing just enough to win in the postseason but have yet to hit their stride. Once Altuve starts hitting again, and the Astros begin to fire on all cylinders, they could become a buzzsaw on their way to their second World Series title. Considering it is a matter of time before Altuve heats up once again, those remaining teams may not stand a chance.
Jose Altuve is in one of the coldest stretches in playoff history. When he heats up, the Houston Astros may become unstoppable.