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Missed opportunities return to haunt Astros in World Series Game 4 loss to Braves

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Missed opportunities return to haunt Astros in World Series Game 4 loss to Braves

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Throughout the season, the Astros delivered the big blow with the runners on the bases.

But on Saturday, in the fourth game of the World Series, that was not the case. Houston ended its 3-2 loss to the Braves with 11 runners remaining on base, the most of any Fall Classic since the Nationals dropped 12 to the Astros in Game 3 of 2019.

The difficulties finding the clutch shot came in a game that seemed imperative for Houston to win. The Braves went with the first of two games in the bullpen before a potential return to Houston for Games 6 and 7.

Instead of taking advantage of their chances, the Astros only had one hit with runners on base – none with runners in scoring position. Now they must find a way to win three straight wins, starting with Game 5 on Sunday in Atlanta, to claim their second World Series title in five years.

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After the game, Astros manager Dusty Baker said missing those early scoring chances “is usually” like biting a team, but “usually we pick those finalists”.

“We left a lot of runners on base,” said Baker. “We didn’t have a lot of chances other than the first four rounds. We really had them on the ropes in the first round.”

Boulanger is right. His hitters usually choose these runners. In fact, no 2021 MLB regular season team has cashed more with runners on base than the Astros. Their .823 OPS with runners led all baseball, as did their 689 hits and 709 RBIs.

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And the first missed scoring opportunity on Saturday did indeed come in the first set. Houston loaded the groundwork with a strikeout against Braves opener Dylan Lee, who was making his first MLB start, forcing Atlanta to turn to their relievers box early. Kyle Wright was brought in. He caused an RBI check from Carlos Correa and struck out Kyle Tucker on strikes to end the set and keep Houston down to one point.

In the second inning, Zack Greinke and Martin Maldonado had back-to-back hits with one out, but Jose Altuve lined up and Michael Brantley was taken out on the ground. In the third, the Astros loaded up the goals with two away goals, but Greinke failed to end the set.

Maldonado’s single with Greinke first was the only hit Houston had with a runner on base. Tucker blocked four runners while Greinke and Alex Bregman each left three on base. The Astros ended the night 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

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It is not uncommon to leave 11 runners on base; Houston’s total is tied for 68th in a World Series game, according to Stathead. Typically, however, it comes with more success. The Astros are the 212th team to leave double-digit runners on base. The teams that leave 10 or more runners on the bases were 119-92 before Saturday.

The average score of these previous 211 teams was 4.72 points per game. Among teams that have scored two points or less, however, the record drops to 11-41.

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It has now become a worrying trend for Houston on the show. The Astros were 0 for 2 with runners in scoring position in Game 3 and left six runners on base, and they went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base in the game. Game 1. Even in their only win, in Game 2, the Astros were just 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position and they left three on base.

Teams can win by leaving runners on base. It shows that a team has a lot of chances.

But Houston can no longer feel comfortable having chances. Now on the verge of elimination, each presence at bat with runners in scoring position will take on added value. And the Astros can’t afford to let those chances go to waste again.

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