Both Championship Series match-ups are panning out to be more exciting with each game. With Milwaukee and Houston snagging victories on the round, many are predicting to see these two take the Conference pennants. But the round is still young, and anything can happen.
Here are a few things each team can do to win their match-ups.
Match-Up Keys: Houston Astros
Key #1- Keep it Loud
With the series now in Houston, the Astros will have a packed-out house behind them. Last year proved one thing: Minute Maid Park is a total ruckus for opposing teams, especially during the postseason. If Houston wants to take the series away from Boston, they will have to keep the fans loud and on their feet. If Houston can hold the fort for the next three games, they get to keep their ALCS title. What better place to do it than in front of the home crowd?
Key #2- Keep Trusting their Pitchers
The Astros boast the regular season’s best pitching rotation. They do have a daunting in quelling a scorching Red Sox offense in this match-up. But the best thing to do is keep their faith in their aces and provide as much run support for them as possible. Even though the starter may have slip ups, they must trust the reliever(s) to do his part and keep runs off the board. Of course, it’s easier said than done.
Match-up Keys: Boston Red Sox
Key #1- Remain Clam
The worst thing the Boston Red Sox can do right now is mash the “panic” button. Yes, they lost their second game hosting the Astros, and now they play on the latter’s home turf, but keep in mind, these two teams have clashed a few times in the regular season. They may not be up two games to zero. But there is no need to freak out. They have already played in Minute Maid Park in the regular season, so it’s just a matter of finding that familiar feeling of victory.
Key #2- Trust the Manager
Manager Alex Cora has made more than a few significant statements in his first year as the Red Sox skipper. In fact, he is one of the favorites to win the “AL Manager of the Year.” But October is usually not a merciful month for rookie managers. Not to mention he’s been already ejected once this series. In this match-up, Cora will have to play his cards right like he has been. Only this time, there’s more on the line. Red Sox fans must keep their faith in Cora. After all, he did help the team rock the best record of the season.
Match-Up Keys: Milwaukee Brewers
Key #1- Be Patient with Offense
The Milwaukee Brewers are facing the National League’s best pitching staff. Plus, they’re facing them in Dodger Stadium. That being said, Christian Yelich is fighting through a cold streak this postseason. This does cause some concern for Brewers fans since Yelich is a leading candidate for NL MVP. But, the Brew Crew did take the first game at Dodger Stadium 4-0. They just need to keep finding winning formulas on the road.
Key #2- Make Every Game Count
If Milwaukee wants to take over the match-up, they’ll need to make every road game count. They did take the first game, but they will have to take at least one more to shift momentum in their favor. One more road victory, and they’ll be able to come home to Miller Park with the odds on their side. But ideally, they want to take every game in Los Angeles and show the Dodgers the exit door early.
Match-Up Keys: Los Angeles Dodgers
Key #1- Weather the Storm
The reigning NL champions are down 2-1 in their match-up with Milwaukee. Not to mention they lost the first game at home. But the Dodgers have appeared in the NLCS for the third straight year. Manager, Dave Roberts, is more than familiar with the setting. The best thing for the Dodgers to do is stay persistent. It has served them well in stealing Game 2 in Milwaukee. It almost gave them Game 1 as well.
Key #2- Support the Pitcher
One key that could help LA retake the match-up is create run support early in the game. This could give the current piece of mind in many situations. Worst case, a pitcher working with a smaller deficit just needs to keep the deficit as is, so the offense can close the gap. However, if LA jumps out early, the pitcher will not need to worry about playing catch-up.
Featured image courtesy of AP Photo/John Bazemore
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