Astros: Use Your Ability, Increase Your Luck

Is there any big surprise out there as to why these four smart and athletic Astros also have a lot of “good luck” in the game as well?

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A Scoreboard Oddity. What are the odds against any team winning the first two games of both the divisional and league championship series by two pairs of identical separate scores for each series? Whatever they may be, that’s just what the Houston Astros just did in 2017. They defeated Boston in the ALDS, winning each of the first games they played at home by scores of 8-2. Yesterday, they pulled off a second game win over the Yankees at home in the ALCS by the identical score of 2-1 they posted in Game 1, with the second win coming on that exciting walk off/run off finish staged by Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa in the bottom of the 9th. – The odds of that happening – or ever happening again – have to be located somewhere – out there in the stratosphere.

Jeff Luhnow Deserves a Standing “O”. In fact, he just got his second standing “O” yesterday within the 24 hours it took for the Astros to win Games 1 and 2 at home against the New York Yankees. Whether it was acknowledged as such is immaterial to the fact that it could be measured by every fan who filled every seat at Minute Maid Park, creating the SRO need for tickets then sold to fans who were willing to stand and watch as best they could the live delivery of General Manager Jeff Luhnow‘s long term plan for championship success as it continues to unfold. – In that ancient rhetorical inquiry, “is it better to be good or lucky”, we always have chosen to believe that being good enhances one’s chances of being lucky – but that being lucky in itself is not much help to most situations requiring the presence of ability. Example: The Astros got lucky in the bottom of the 9th because a couple of guys like Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa came to bat for them in that inning and saw the situation on some conscious to subterranean hungry mental level as an opportunity to “get lucky”.

The Presence of Justin Verlander. Speaking of ability transference into an increased chance for luck measured by wins, that nine inning full game stint by Justin Verlander in Game 2 may have been the best pitched game that some of us have ever seen. When you take into account (1) the stakes at play that came with winning or losing this particular game; (2) the presence of most able resistance forces within the Yankee group for also achieving success; (3) the absence of support for pitchers remaining in the game beyond the magical 100-pitch mark; (4) After the Yankees scored their lone run on back-to-back hits in the top of the 5th, Verlander simply stiffened his focus and got better; (5) by the bottom of the 9th, it was evident to all, even Astros manager A.J. Hinch – win or lose, Justin Verlander was going to finish this game – and indeed, he did. – And that set the tone for Mr. V’s brethren in baseball ability, Mssrs. Altuve and Correa, to bring the rest of this “lucky landing baby” home.

Luck helped along by ability. Even the uncaught ball by the Yankee catcher on Altuve’s game-winning score was a case of “luck helped along by ability.” Of course, it could have happened the same way, even with one of the Astros’ lesser light runners coming around third base on a daring dash for a run that was going to be as consequential as this one proved to be, but it just seems to enhance the luck of something going wrong with the defense under this pressure when the imposing actor in this presentation of fatal consequence is mighty little Jose Altuve.

Go, Astros! ~ Soak up some of that Verlander, Keuchel, Altuve, Correa fire! ~ Let’s put these Yankees to sleep in the Bronx and then get on with dispatching whomever else remains in the way of Astros destiny in the World Series ~ and, of course ~ do it all ~ one game at a time ~ one pitch at a time ~ one magically consequential moment at a time. ~ We’ve waited too long ~ to mess things up now by taking anything for granted or presumptuously.

One Little Hint. ~ Be grateful each morning for the particular natural gifts-for-the-greater-good that have been given to you in this life. ~ for your personal use. Feed those gifts with love and gratitude. ~ Then go use them in passionate pursuit of delivering whatever your gifts are to life ~ all the while, remembering ~ we all have something to give ~ even if some people are sadly short on owning what their gifts are. ~ And just know in your heart ~ that these all spread love further than it can get on its own ~ if it remains stuck inside us. ~ And ~ if you happen to be Jose Altuve ~ and you are racing home from 1st base on a hit to right field ~ and that helps make the catcher drop the relay throw that would have retired you ~ but now allows the Astros to score the winning run ~ just keep it up.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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4 Responses to “Astros: Use Your Ability, Increase Your Luck”

  1. Mike McCroskey Says:

    Nice column, Bill. Couple of questions for your crack research team:
    1. Who and when was the last pitcher to
    hurl a complete game victory in a post season game?

    2. Has it ever happened before, that the last four teams remaining in the playoffs each represent one of our nation’s four largest metropolitan areas?

  2. Tom Hunter Says:

    Bill,

    If I correctly understood your previous column, you missed first two games of the ALCS because of your attendance at the visitation and funeral of your boyhood hero, Solly Hemus. This says a lot about your character.

    Luck: Where preparation meets opportunity.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      This says a lot about my character too. I had a private talk with Solly and said my goodbyes at the visitation. I told him that I will miss my first baseball hero from 1947 and that it was only this week that I had come to understand since that early time that he was not also one of the baseball gods.

      I told him that no Solly Hemus god I knew would have scheduled his wake and funeral to coincide with Houston hosting the first two games of the ALCS.

      “You’re right,” the spiritual message from Solly came back to me. “Go to Game 2, or watch it where you can tomorrow. I would join you too, if that were possible. Today works sweet enough as our goodbye for me. – And, Bill, please mark my words. – You’re old enough to know better. I am not a god. I wasn’t even a god when you first thought I was back in 1947. Again, you’re right. And, even if I ever were a god, which I never was or ever made any claim to be, I would never have planned on having an early October departure and funeral in the first place.”

      I guess this explanation will have to stand for any changes you now need to make in your assessment of my character. I was there in body and spirit on Friday. 🙂 I was there in lingering spirit only on Saturday. 😦

      • Tom Hunter Says:

        My assessment of your character will never change. You’re a good man. I’m happy you were able to enjoy some of this weekend’s glorious addition to Houston’s baseball history–and I’m certain Solly would understand.

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