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October Confidential: Astros

Rival players offer inside look at facing AL West champions
October 2, 2017

How do you beat the Astros? MLB.com asked rival players from around Major League Baseball to offer an inside look at how best to face the AL West champions.Dallas Keuchel "He's got a really good sinker. He likes to work in the bottom of the zone. That's his money pitch.

How do you beat the Astros? MLB.com asked rival players from around Major League Baseball to offer an inside look at how best to face the AL West champions.
Dallas Keuchel
"He's got a really good sinker. He likes to work in the bottom of the zone. That's his money pitch. He crowds you with the slider/cutter that he throws. Not too overpowering, but he relies on the movement and the expansion of a hitter. Once he gets ahead of a hitter, he tries to expand the zone and get swings on the offspeed below the zone. He doesn't really live at the top, so we're always being told, 'You're going to see the ball in the bottom of the zone.' We try to hit him low and hard the other way."
-- AL hitter

Justin Verlander
"The dude has electric stuff. He pounds the zone with every one of his pitches. He's got a solid mix and throws any pitch in any count. It's more so about being able to shrink the zone on him and stay in one area of the plate. You can't really sit on one pitch, because he mixes throughout, so it's usually about sticking to that away zone and battling."
-- AL hitter

Lance McCullers
"He loves his curveball. He really does. And he gets a lot of swings on it, because everybody knows it's coming, but they still can't hit it, because a lot of times he doesn't throw it for strikes. He's got a good fastball, spots up his fastball really well. Biggest thing with him is being able to shrink the zone on him and not give in to those expansive pitches, especially with two strikes. Force him to throw the ball over the plate. When he does, he gets hit."
-- AL hitter
Ken Giles
"You have to jump on him early. He throws hard, so being able to hit that fastball is going to make him throw his offspeed for strikes, which he doesn't do often. If you can make him throw a strike with his fastball, then it limits his abilities. Since he doesn't throw his offspeed much, if you can limit it to the fastball and get a good pitch to hit, that's where he crumbles."
-- AL hitter
Jose Altuve
"He's probably got some of the best hand-eye coordination I've ever seen in baseball. I feel like the biggest thing is staying out of the middle of the plate with him. He has great plate coverage, so just keeping him off-balance is the biggest thing. He does have a lot of power, sprays the ball really well. He's a contact hitter with enough juice to take it out of the park. Just keep him off-balance and not be predictable, move the fastball around, move the offspeed around a little bit and not let him get comfortable. Obviously he's usually comfortable."
-- AL catcher

Carlos Correa
"He keeps his hands inside the ball really well, so if you go in on him you really have to get it in to him, but he has a knack of hitting that ball out over the plate for a double to right field, but he also hits homers. He's a big mix guy. Struggles with changeups, especially right on right, so just keep that good mix down in the zone. If you can do that, he'll get you a ground ball. He's so tall that his damage is usually up and out over the middle of the plate. Any time you can stay out of that area, the better off you're going to be."
-- AL pitcher

George Springer
"He struggles with the ball in. We attack him with the ball elevated in, because he can't leverage that ball. He's so out over the plate with his swing, so we pound him in. We just try to do a solid mix of in and out with him. You see him leading off the game, classic fastball down and away, and he hits a homer. That's what he does best. He likes extension. He likes to get out over the plate."
-- AL catcher