NEW YORK -- The Astros have won the first two games in each of the postseason series they've played so far, but that's really where the similarities end.
The American League Division Series presented by Doosan with the Red Sox featured an Astros hitting bonanza, where they outscored Boston, 16-4, in the first two games. That is not the case in the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World, where the Astros have gotten just enough offensive production to take the first two from the Yankees by identical scores of 2-1.
Regardless of how the Astros are hitting as a team, two players in the middle of the order are in the thick of every scoring play and have maintained impeccable consistency. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, instigators of the heart-stopping final play in Game 2, have been hitting since Day 1 and continue to carry an Astros offense that has cooled in the two meetings with the Yankees.
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"Those two, they provide so much for us and literally can carry a team offensively any given game, any given series, any given stretch of the season," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
And they are doing so now. The Astros lead the ALCS 2-0 despite scoring four total runs off Yankees pitching, collectively slashing .190/.242/.276. Altuve and Correa, however, have recorded eight hits in 15 at-bats (.533) and have scored all four of the Astros' runs. Everyone else on the team is hitting .070 (3-for-43) in the ALCS.
"No matter what lineup you have, your eyes are immediately drawn to the three-hitter and the four-hitter," Hinch said. "We have a ton of good hitters in the rest of the lineup, but those are sort of the primo spots that everybody is drawn to."
Altuve, arguably the favorite to win the American League MVP Award, has 13 hits in 23 postseason at-bats, has driven in four runs and is slashing an other-worldly .565/.630/.957. Correa has driven in nine runs and has seven hits in 24 at-bats.
Between the two, they've scored 12 of the Astros' 28 runs, including Altuve's game-winning 10.27-second dash from first to home in the ninth that gave his team a two-game series lead.
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"I don't even think it's even impressive anymore -- it's just, Altuve," leadoff hitter George Springer said. "He's arguably the best player in our game. He does something every day to show you he's that best player. And then you have a guy like Correa hitting behind him. It's special. He's 23 years old and he's been playing like he's been here forever."
Altuve cares less about the individual numbers and more about the number six, which is how many more times the Astros need to win to capture a World Series title.
"I work really hard in every single pitch, and it doesn't matter if I get one or two hits in the game. Every hit counts," Altuve said after Game 2. "This is not like in the regular season. What you did two months still counts for the season for your average or homers or whatever. This is not about your personal numbers. This is about winning. We're going to start from zero in New York."
As for the lower team-wide offensive production in the ALCS, count Correa as one of many Astros unfazed.
"Obviously, we don't need to score eight runs per game in order for us to win a ballgame," Correa said. "We can play defense, too, and we showed that the first two games, and we can throw the ball as well. We feel really confident every time we take the field that we have a good chance to win the game."