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Bregman ready to rise on O; Altuve, on D

@brianmctaggart
October 14, 2020

Alex Bregman doesn’t want to hear about hard contact and loud outs. The Astros' third baseman has made more than his share of those in the first three games of the American League Championship Series against the Rays, including all five outs he made in Monday's Game 2.

Alex Bregman doesn’t want to hear about hard contact and loud outs. The Astros' third baseman has made more than his share of those in the first three games of the American League Championship Series against the Rays, including all five outs he made in Monday's Game 2.

Game Date Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 11 TB 2, HOU 1 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 12 TB 4, HOU 2 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 13 TB 5, HOU 2 Watch
Gm 4 Oct. 14 HOU 4, TB 3 Watch
Gm 5 Oct. 15 HOU 4, TB 3 Watch
Gm 6 Oct. 16 HOU 7, TB 4 Watch
Gm 7 Oct. 17 TB 4, HOU 2 Watch

In fact, seven of Bregman’s 10 batted balls in the first three games of the series have been considered hard hits (95 mph and above exit velocity). In a very small sample size, that’s a 70 percent hard-hit rate, which is more than double his 33.6 percent hard-hit rate in the regular season. Bregman went 2-for-13 in the first three games of the ALCS.

“I mean what we’re doing as hitters, our whole career, is you’re supposed to hit the ball hard and control what you can control,” Bregman said Wednesday prior to Game 4. “That’s all that matters. Of course, we want them to fall and we want hits and we want wins, but I don’t really like the whole, ‘Oh, we’re hitting it hard and they’re just making all these [plays].’ No. Luck is the residue of design. You create your own luck.”

Bregman said the Rays’ ability to make so many clutch defensive plays in Game 3 wasn’t a fluke.

“They position themselves extremely well, they pitch extremely well, they take pride in defense, they’re an extremely solid defensive club,” he said. “They’re playing really well. And we need to play better. You see them out there taking ground balls and working on all these plays that they’re making. They’re a really solid defensive team. They’re really good.”

Bregman was asked about the team’s confidence in second baseman Jose Altuve, who’s made three throwing errors -- two of them extremely costly -- in the ALCS. Not surprisingly, Bregman expects Altuve to rise to the challenge in Game 4.

“He’s an unbelievable defender, an unbelievable hitter, an unbelievable teammate,” he said. “Stuff happens like that in the game. When you make errors, sometimes you make them in bunches, but then as soon as you catch one and make a good play, it’s over with and you don’t make another one for the longest time.”

Bregman made only two errors in the regular season, both during a July 28 game against the Dodgers. He said he was angry with himself until he had a chance to make a few plays cleanly the following day.

“The next day, I caught a ground ball, threw a guy out and it was back to normal,” he said. “Jose’s one of the best players in the game. He’s gonna be fine.”

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.