Throughout the season, the Astros have had great success with base runners.

But on Saturday, during Game 4 of the World Championships, that wasn’t the case. Houston ended its 3-2 loss to the Braves with 11 runners remaining at base, the most of any team in the Fall Classic since the 12 Nationals left against the Astros at Game 3 in 2019.

The fight for the knockout came in a match that seemed inevitable for Houston to win. The Braves were going with their first two Bulls games before a potential return to Houston for games 6 and 7.

Instead of taking advantage of their chances, the Astros only hit one hit with the base runners—nothing with the scoring center runners. Now, they need to find a way to score three wins in a row, starting with Game Five on Sunday in Atlanta, to claim their second World Championship title in five years.

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After the game, Astros manager Dusty Becker said those early scoring chances “usually come back” to bite the team, but that “usually, we pick these runners-up.”

“We left a few runners at the base,” Becker said. “We didn’t have a full set of chances other than the first four rounds. We really managed to get them ready in the first half.”

Baker is right. Usually his hitters choose these runners. In fact, no team has won more MLB 2021 regular season with runners at base than the Astros. The .823 OPS drove them with runners in baseball, as did 689 hits and 709 RBIs.

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The first missed opportunity on Saturday came in the first half. Houston held the rules by one against the opening runner-up Dylan Lee of the Braves, who were starting their first MLS game, forcing Atlanta to turn to an early bullpup. Kyle Wright was brought in. He caused an RBI penalty kick from Carlos Correa and hit Kyle Tucker to end the inning and keep Houston only one round.

In the second half, Zach Greinke and Martin Maldonado received consecutive baseball hits by one hit, but Jose Altov lined up and stopped Michael Brantley. In the third, the Astros loaded the bases at two, but Greinke stopped to finish the inning.

Maldonado’s single with Greinke was initially the only hit recorded in Houston with a base runner. Tucker cut off four runners while Grink and Alex Bergman each left three at the base. The Astros finished the night 0-for-8 with the runners in the scoring position.

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Leaving 11 runners on base is uncommon; Houston’s total is tied for 68th place in the world championship game, According to Statheed. However, it usually comes with more success. The Astros are the 212th team that left the two-digit runners at the base. Teams leaving 10 or more riders at the base were 119-92 before Saturday.

The average number of points scored by these previous 211 teams was 4.72 points per game. Among teams that scored two runs or less, the record fell to 11-41.

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This has now become a troubling trend for Houston in the series. The stars were 0 vs. 2 with two runners at the scoring position in Game 3 and left six runners at the base, they went 1 vs. 9 with the runners at the scoring position and left nine at the base in Game 1. Even in their only win, in Game 2, the Astros were only 3 vs. 12 with the runners at the scoring center and three left at the base.

Teams can win runners who leave the base at the base. It shows the team is getting a lot of chances.

But Houston can no longer feel comfortable just because there are opportunities. Now on the verge of elimination, each player in scoring mode will gain an added value. And the Astros can’t let those opportunities slip again.

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