LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - If the Astros are going to deliver Houston its first World Series title the team will need to figure out how to score runs on the road, something it has struggled to do all postseason long.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have home field advantage in the best-of-seven series so the road-weary Astros are going to need to win at least one game outside of the confines of Minute Maid Park to take the crown.
The Astros offense was not up to the task during their 3-1 Game One loss on Tuesday, mustering just three hits and barely putting pressure on the Dodgers pitchers.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch downplayed the team’s road struggles during a postgame press conference, instead pointing to the sensational performance by Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who struck out 11 and walked none over seven solid innings.
“Tonight is about Kershaw,” he said when asked about the Astros’ inability to score runs on the road.
“They had two big swings, we had one... It’s no more complicated than that.”
While a two-run blast by Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner did prove the difference on Tuesday, the offensive numbers for the Astros this postseason are not pretty.
While the team is a perfect 6-0 at home, they are just 1-4 on the road, where they have plated an average of just 2.6 runs.
They lost all three games they played at Yankees Stadium during the American League Championship series and needed a Game Seven win in Houston to advance to the Fall Classic.
To make matters worse, their pitchers have also struggled on the road, posting an ugly 7.24 ERA during away games compared to a 1.17 ERA at home.
The good news for the Astros is they will have ace Justin Verlander on the mound on Wednesday.
The hard throwing right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA in the postseason this year.
“It’s a tough lead when you go up against Kershaw,” Hinch said. “But it’s going to be a tough lead when you go against Verlander.”
Reporting by Rory Carroll; editing by Sudipto Ganguly