1. Houston Astros' big bats need to put the ball in play
Outside of Yordan Alvarez, the Houston offense has done little to put any fear into Texas pitching so far this series. That includes Jose Altuve, who has yet to find his stride at the plate this postseason.
Heading into Game 3, Altuve is slashing just .160/.192/.280 and has a 42.0 percent chase rate, giving Texas pitchers the advantage by swinging at their offerings outside the strike zone.
Kyle Tucker, meanwhile, was 2-for-14 with six strikeouts in Houston's ALDS win over the Minnesota Twins. Against the Rangers in the ALCS, Tucker is 0-for-8 with a whiff. Put all of that together and one of Houston's big bats is 2-for-22 with seven strikeouts so far this postseason. That won't cut it.
Alvarez can't carry the Houston offense alone (contrary to what it looked like at times in Game 2 with his historic home run barrage), so the Astros have to figure out how to get other big names going at the plate. That effort starts with the Astros simply putting the bat on the ball and making Texas pitchers throw them strikes.
Coming back from an 0-2 deficit is hard enough. The Astros don't need to give Texas any advantages by swinging at bad pitches.
I will be in Arlington for Games 3 and 4 (and potentially Game 5) of the ALCS, so look for exclusive content from Globe Life Field here on Wednesday.