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Playing With a Virus, Astros’ Sick Yordan Álvarez Has an Unknown Dodgers Past

Published 10/17/2023, 7:30 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

The American League Championship Series is heating up. With the Texas Rangers now leading 2-0, the Houston Astros are in trouble. Defending their 2022 World Series crown will take some work, especially if they want to beat the team ruthlessly fighting for their first title in franchise history. Houston’s roster is full of star players, like Yordan Álvarez, who forego sick days to give their 100% to work.

Álvarez has risen to stardom since debuting in the big leagues in 2019. This year, he batted .293 with 31 home runs and 97 RBI and looks to continue the decent performance in October. While Game 1 of the ALCS saw Jordan Montgomery striking him out in his first three at-bats, there was good reason for the dip in performance. But it has not stopped the slugger from returning in Game 2 with a brilliant display.

Yordan Álvarez Battles Virus, Still Homers Twice

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Yordan Álvarez had been suffering from a virus that induced headaches and an upset stomach. This is why Game 1 of the ALCS ended disastrously for Houston, which was the first time a pitcher struck out Álvarez three times. Nevertheless, the slugger was not willing to give in to the demands of nature for Game 2.

Illnesses usually strike at the worst time, just when one needs their body and mind performing well. But Álvarez will not let it stop him. In fact, he hit a couple of solo home runs in Game 2, making him just the sixth player in MLB history to have two multi-homer games in the same postseason.

Even though his efforts ultimately went in vain as the Astros lost 4-5, manager Dusty Baker expected no less than an excellent performance. “The reports about him having a virus, I got a virus, everybody got a virus,” he said. “So he’s fine. He’s better today than he was yesterday.”

Sometimes, one just has to work through troubles, no matter how debilitating. To think Álvarez could have been playing with the Boys in Blue in an alternate universe.

Instead of Houston Astros’ Orange, Álvarez Almost Wore Dodgers’ Blue

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Álvarez was coming up in demand at a time when Cuban players were getting more attention than ever. Although the slugger defected to Haiti, the Los Angeles Dodgers had signed him in June 2016, almost as an afterthought. However, Álvarez had already impressed senior scouting adviser Charlie Gonzalez before, and Houston couldn’t let him go.

Not too concerned with a gangly player who showed coordination but had unexplored potential, the Dodgers gave him up. Jeff Luhnow, then-general manager, came knocking at their doors after he heard an impressed Gonzalez talk about Álvarez.

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The youngster never played a game with the Dodgers, always destined to go to Houston. Today, he has more than proven his worth.

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Written by:

Arunima Bhanot

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Arunima Bhanot is an MLB writer at EssentiallySports. Her tryst with MLB was accidental, but what followed was nothing short of a pursuit of excellence. Arunima's articles have been recognized as Editor's Picks on multiple occasions, highlighting her exceptional attention to detail and insightful coverage.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj