World Series: 5 Astros players who could be difference makers

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    The Houston Astros may be the favorites to win the World Series but the team is going to need big-time performances for that to come to fruition.

    The Astros as a team had the best batting average in all of baseball (.267), and were ninth in home runs (221), first in RBIs (834) and first in hits (1,496). Houston was seventh in ERA (3.76), allowed the eighth least runs (604), were 11th in strikeouts (1,456), and opponents only batted .228 against them.

    It’s a pretty good formula against the Atlanta Braves, who have a pretty good team of their own. The Braves won the National League East and won’t be easy to get past in the World Series.

    Houston is looking to bring back their second World Series title since 2017.

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    Here are five players who could prove to be difference-makers in the Fall Classic.

    Framber Valdez

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez celebrates in the dugout after the eighth inning in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Boston.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez celebrates in the dugout after the eighth inning in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Boston.
    (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

    The Astros are likely to start Framber Valdez in Game 1 of the series. With the ALCS tied 2-2, Valdez gave Houston a clutch performance in Game 5 to give the Astros the lead in the series. He went eight innings, allowed just one run on three hits and struck out five batters. Similar performances are going to be key against the hot-hitting Braves.

    Zack Greinke

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke is taken out of the game against the Boston Red Sox during the second inning in Game 4 of baseball's American League Championship Series Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, in Boston.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke is taken out of the game against the Boston Red Sox during the second inning in Game 4 of baseball’s American League Championship Series Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, in Boston.

    Zack Greinke started 29 games for the Astros during the 2021 season but has only appeared in two total games during the postseason. Greinke pitched in his only World Series in 2019 and had a 2.45 ERA in two starts. He can be valuable for the Astros in such a big spot. He lasted 1 1/3 innings in Game 4 against the Red Sox.

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    Yordan Alvarez

    Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez celebrates after a double against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Houston.

    Houston Astros’ Yordan Alvarez celebrates after a double against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Houston.
    (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

    Yordan Alvarez was the 2021 ALCS MVP. In the series against Boston, Alvarez was 12-for-23 with one home run, six RBIs, three doubles and a triple. He batted .522 with a 1.408 OPS. There’s nobody in baseball who is hitting better than Alvarez right now. Continuing the trend would give Houston a big lift in the biggest series of the season.

    Chas McCormick

    Houston Astros' Chas McCormick walks in the dugout after striking out against the Boston Red Sox during the seventh inning in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Houston.

    Houston Astros’ Chas McCormick walks in the dugout after striking out against the Boston Red Sox during the seventh inning in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Houston.
    (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

    Chas McCormick has the potential to be very useful for the Astros in the World Series, especially in strategic positions when the series shifts to the National League park. McCormick was 3-for-4 with a run scored in Game 1 against Boston but cooled off after that.

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    Carlos Correa

    Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa celebrates after hitting a two-run double against the Chicago White Sox during the seventh inning in Game 2 of the American League Division Series Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in Houston.

    Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa celebrates after hitting a two-run double against the Chicago White Sox during the seventh inning in Game 2 of the American League Division Series Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in Houston.
    (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

    It’s Carlos Correa’s time. He could be playing his final at-bats with the Astros as he’s set to become a free agent in the offseason. Correa didn’t do a ton after hitting a home run against Boston and pointing to his watch, but for anybody to step up in this series, it would be the shortstop. He was hitting .250 with a home run and five runs scored in the game. His ability to be patient and get on base will be key.

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