LOS ANGELES -- Astros center fielder George Springer entered Game 2 of the Fall Classic mired in a 3-for-30 slump spanning all seven games of the American League Championship Series and Game 1 of the World Series, when he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.As Houston's leadoff hitter and table-setter, Springer's
LOS ANGELES -- Astros center fielder George Springer entered Game 2 of the Fall Classic mired in a 3-for-30 slump spanning all seven games of the American League Championship Series and Game 1 of the World Series, when he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.
As Houston's leadoff hitter and table-setter, Springer's success usually correlates with the offense producing at its optimum level. Astros manager A.J. Hinch hasn't lost confidence in Springer, who hit .283 with 34 homers and 85 RBIs in the regular season.
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"I think that in baseball, it's really hard how you deal with failure and how you deal with some tough days," Hinch said. "But you start fresh today. If [Rich] Hill wants to throw him a pitch right over the plate, let's test him. Let's see if he can bounce back and get a good pitch to hit.
"I think you can make too much out of it. George Springer has way more good days than bad days, and way more good stretches than bad stretches. So I'm going to continue to encourage him. He's going to lead off. He's going to be a big part of an offensive approach tonight against a good pitcher [in Hill]. If he carries the burden of what he's not doing with him, then that's not going to help him. The only thing that helps is getting out and competing."
On the rebound
Astros reliever Chris Devenski, who had struggled in the postseason, got back on track with a clean inning in Tuesday's Game 1 of the World Series presented by YouTube TV, striking out two of the three batters he faced while throwing only nine pitches. He had allowed four runs, two walks and five hits in his first five appearances spanning three innings.
"I have a ton of faith in Devo because of how prepared he is," Hinch said. "And he's got huge weapons. And he's really tough against left-handed hitters [.111 average in the regular season] with the changeup. He's got a good elevated fastball for righties and lefties, [had] a good slider last night. I think more so for him to feel walking off the field that he did something successful is huge."
Devenski, an All-Star this season for the first time, didn't pitch as well in the second half, but his changeup is a devastating weapon the Astros will need for key outs as the World Series progresses.
"My confidence hasn't wavered," Hinch said. "I'll put him in the game in the most important spots, because of the weapons, the demeanor he has, the confidence that our team has. It's always nice to come off of a good outing and feel you can build some momentum off that.
"For us to win the World Series, he along with some other guys are going to need to get some outs behind this rotation. Other than a few glitches along the way, they've been pretty good this season."
Odds and ends
The Astros won't work out at Minute Maid Park during Thursday's off-day. The team plans to spend Wednesday night in Los Angeles before flying home on Thursday afternoon.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.