Astros’ two-out RBI success in 2021 MLB postseason puts them in historic company

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The Astros have been a perfect reminder that two outs do not mean a team is out of the inning.

Houston has proven time and again this postseason that not only is its inning far from over, but if anything, it is even more dangerous.

That was the case yet again on Wednesday in Game 5 of the ALCS. The Astros drove in five runs with two outs to help propel the team to a commanding 9-1 win and a 3-2 series edge against the Red Sox.

MORE: Explaining the mysterious light in Red Sox-Astros ALCS Game 5

That performance wasn’t just a one-time thing for Houston. The Astros scored seven unanswered runs with two outs in the top of the ninth to beat the Red Sox in Game 4 and tie the series. Carlos Correa hit his tiebreaking home run with two outs in Game 1 to give Houston the lead.

All told this postseason, Houston is on a historic pace. With their five on Wednesday, Houston reached 40 two-out RBIs, more than any other team in MLB history before reaching the World Series, according to Stathead.

All told, there are just six teams with more than 40 two-out RBIs. Here’s a look at them: 

Team Year RBIs World Series? Won WS?
Dodgers 2020 57 Yes Yes
Red Sox 2004 45 Yes Yes
Giants 2002 44 Yes No
Red Sox 2018 43 Yes Yes
Indians 1997 42 Yes No

How’s that for some company?

MORE: How Astros turned tables on Red Sox to blow out Boston in ninth inning of ALCS Game 4

For the Astros, driving in runs with two outs has actually become their primary method of driving in runs. So far this postseason, the Astros have driven in 61 runs. Those two-out hits account for 65.6 percent of those.

Houston is not exactly the team most would have pegged to be the most successful with two away. Of the 10 postseason teams, the Astros ranked seventh in the regular season with just a .728 OPS batting with two out (on-base percentage and slugging percentage), though that number was still lofty compared to the rest of the league — ninth-best in the majors. Only the Cardinals, Yankees and Brewers were lower.

Coming into Wednesday’s game, Stathead listed Houston’s OPS with two outs in the playoffs at 1.049.

MORE: 2021 MLB postseason schedule

To be clear, these are all based on very small sample sizes. There is certainly some expectation for regression over a larger amount of time.

But all the Astros need to do now is win five more games to reach the goal of winning a World Series. That’s not too much time. Will that regression happen before then? The Red Sox will certainly hope so as this ALCS now heads to Houston for the final two games.





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