Quick Hits: Astros Rotation Dominates, but Enough for World Championship?

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The Astros assured themselves of an overpowering 1-2-3 in the rotation when they dealt three of their top 10 prospects in a package to Arizona for right-hander Zack Greinke before the July 31 trading deadline. The first two arms in the Astros rotation -- Justin Verlander, who came from the Tigers prior to the deadline in 2018, and Gerrit Cole, acquired last season in an off-season trade with the Pirates -- did not allow a run in 14 2/3 innings of their two starts.

Since the advent of the Wild Card in 1995, no team has ever made it through the expanded post-season without giving up a run. Can the Astros change history? They are one of three teams in the post-season this year with a rotation ERA below 2.00. The Cardinals starters have a 1.83 ERA and Braves rotation has a 0.96 ERA.

Here's the real question though, how important is a dominating rotation. It is worth nothing that since the addition of the wild-card and expansion of the post-season three series (in addition to the recent addition of a one-game Wild Card showdown for a team that didn't finish in first place), there have been only eight rotations have a post-season ERA below 2.00.

And among those team rotations, only one has won a World Championship -- the Diamondbacks of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2001 had a 1.94 ERA for its rotation in a 17-game post-season, capped by beating the Yankees in seven games in the World Series.

DJ LeMahieu has gone from a product of Coors Field to a fan favorite of the Yankees. For all the angst over the Yankees signing LeMahieu in the off-season, he has proven to be every bit the impact player Rockies fans saw during his time in Colorado -- and then some.

And LeMahieu hasn't slowed down in the post-season. In helping the Yankees win the first two games of their best-of-five series with the Twins -- which resumes in Minneapolis Monday night -- LeMahieu is 4-for-9 with two doubles, a home run, four RBI and a walk.

This comes after a season in which LeMahieu is being touted by Yankees officials and players as the AL MPV. As well as playing first, second and third base during the course of the season, LeMahieu hit .327 with a career-high .518 slugging percentage, 26 home runs, 102 RBI and 33 doubles.