ATLANTA – The Astros team’s flight is scheduled to land at George Bush International Airport in Houston at 3:30 p.m. Monday. At 3:31 p.m. Alex Bregman plans to be on his way to Minute Maid Park.
Monday is supposed to be a day off for the Astros, who beat Atlanta 9-5 on Sunday to force Game 6 of the World Series. It won’t be a day off for their third baseman, who has a meeting with batting coach Troy Snitker in the batting cage.
“I have to do it,” Bregman says. “I have to fix this thing.”
His double run RBI in the second inning in Game 5 was his second World Series hit. The pitcher Zack Greinke has the same number. Bregman finished second in the AL MVP vote in 2019. Now his 0.111 batting average and 0.167 slugging percentage in the series is the worst among regulars. He looked so lost at the plate that manager Dusty Baker, who is loath to shake things up, dropped him from third to seventh in the batting order on Sunday. He assured Bregman he was not the scapegoat for an offense that, prior to his breakthrough in Game 5, had been limited to two points or less in three of four World Series games. Second baseman José Altuve was hitting .222. Shortstop Carlos Correa hit .143. DH Yordan Álvarez was hitting .091. But only Bregman was demoted.
“Hey, man,” Bregman told Baker. “I’ll do whatever you ask for.”
The move seemed to pay off immediately. After four straight cursors, Atlanta’s Tucker Davidson left a fastball to Bregman’s thighs. He hammered it in the middle of the field.
In the seventh, however, Bregman killed a cutter in the center of the strike zone. It was perhaps the most tantalizing pitch he had seen all October. He passed it on to the third.
He is therefore not ready to say that he is fixed. “I’m going to do it right,” he said. “Tomorrow will be the key. I’m gonna break my ass.
By all accounts, that has been his approach for all series. The rain prevented the teams from training on the field before Games 3 and 4, but Bregman estimates he made 300 shots indoors on Saturday. “I saw him hit four times today,” Correa said after Bregman’s 0 for 4 in Game 4. “I was a little mad at him because he was hogging the cage, but the guy does the job. “
Bregman laughs. “Everyone tells me things about it,” he says. “I like to hit. This is when I feel the best, is when I hit a ton.
On Sunday, the sun emerged long enough for him to complete two batting practices on the field. His upper hand is weak, he said. The bat cannon continues to drift behind him. As he knocks, he experiments with different verbal cues until he finds one that gives him the feeling he wants. In Game 5, it was “two hands on the bat”.
It’s easier said than done. Bregman injured his right wrist in September, Correa said. Bregman says he feels “pretty good,” but Correa believes Bregman’s struggles stem from the injury. “It plays a huge role,” Correa says. The upper hand, Bregman’s right hand, generates power. Bregman has a career stroke percentage of 0.507. As of September 17, that figure is 0.273. It has lost six miles per hour in average exit speed since August.
“It’s because the mechanics aren’t clean yet,” Correa explains. “But if he finds out tomorrow at the right time, he can help us win a championship. It’s all about the timing. I believe in him. I believe he can do it, and he gets to work. once that thing clicks, it’s gonna be scary.
So Bregman is going to swing. He says he plans to “blow up [Snitker’s] call tomorrow and make sure he gets his ass to Minute Maid Park, ”where they’ll be spending hours in the cage. Snitker laughs and nods at that characterization.
“You hit my ass until I find it,” Bregman said. And how many swings will it take? “Maybe 10,” he said. “Maybe 10,000! “
Then Game 6 will begin and Bregman will take the swings that matter.
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