Can a swing be each unprecedented and unsurprising? Final Thursday afternoon in Houston, one of many two finest hitters on this planet answered within the affirmative.
By the underside of the sixth inning within the second recreation of the American League Division Sequence, Seattle Mariners ace Luis Castillo had been staked a 2-1 lead in opposition to the Astros, and his type — almost-100 mph fastballs that settled on the strike zone’s ledges however veered variably en route, changeups like dips in a roller-coaster’s monitor — advised the lone run was all he’d want. Then Yordan Álvarez strode to the plate, and the headwinds of inevitability shifted.
A day earlier, the Astros’ large (and vastly dialed-in) left fielder had gained Recreation 1 of the ALDS roughly on his personal, cracking a two-RBI double within the third to get Houston on the board earlier than strolling issues off with a three-run homer within the backside of the ninth. An hour or so earlier, within the fourth inning, he’d simply gotten below a fly ball to left — an out, and a warning shot. Now Castillo threw Álvarez a pair of fastballs previous the surface edge, hoping to tiptoe previous his destiny: In line with ESPN’s Stats & Data Group, no opposing left-handed batter had ever turned an off-the-dish Castillo heater into an opposite-field house run. However the second was too predictable, and it treaded too shut, and Álvarez’s bat sprung and despatched it hovering. A fast 371 ft later, the Astros held a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.