George Springer entered the World Series ice cold.
The All-Star outfielder posted a paltry .115 batting average during his Houston Astros’ ALCS victory over the New York Yankees in seven games.
The frigidity continued through Game 1 of the World Series, when he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts against Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch didn’t even consider removing the 28-year-old from the lineup.
“George Springer has way more good days than bad days, and way more good stretches than bad stretches,” Hinch said ahead of Game 2. “So I’m going to continue to encourage him. He’s going to lead off. He’s going to be a big part of an offensive approach tonight against a good pitcher.”
The manager also sent his star outfielder a text.
“Just said to kind of enjoy this, because this is the best time of our baseball life,” Springer said. “And he stuck with me. He stuck by me.”
Then this happened.
WHAT A GAME!!! WHAT A WIN FOR THE @ASTROS!!!
GEORGE SPRINGER’S GO AHEAD 2-RUN HOME RUN IS EVEN BETTER WITH TITANIC MUSIC!!!
— 🚢Titanic Baseball⚾️ (@TitanicBaseball) October 26, 2017
The two-run home run, Springer’s third hit of Game 2, would stand as the game-winner. He was a triple shy of the cycle.
“I don’t really ride the roller coaster with players,” Hinch said of sticking with Springer. “You have to believe in what they can do, not what they’re doing. If you respond to every bad game or tough game, you’ll bounce these guys around and ruin their confidence in a heartbeat. This is one of our best players. And there’s no need to panic over a bad night against Clayton Kershaw. I don’t care if it’s a bad game against any pitcher, this game is really, really hard. Our guys and the Dodgers make it look really easy, but it’s a hard game. And there’s a ton of failure involved.
“I believe in players, and I specifically believe in George, and tonight is an example why. He wasn’t broken, his swing is not bad, he’s not gone for the series. He had a bad night and came back with one of the best nights.”
After the rocky start, Springer went on to have one of the best World Series performances in history, tying the record for homers in a fall classic, with five, and setting a new record with 29 total bases.
Six of those bases came in the decisive Game 7, when Springer led the game off with a double, then sent starter Yu Darvish packing with a two-run home run an inning later.
“I remember swinging and hearing the sound of the bat,” Springer said of his second-inning shot. “And I knew it was a good sound.
“It’s a very surreal feeling because this is Game 7. This is what you dream of as a kid. And for that to happen is indescribable.”
After winning 5-1, Springer was named the World Series MVP.
“This is a dream come true and an honor,” Springer said. “But it’s about the Houston Astros tonight, our city, our fans. That patch on our chests really does mean something. We’re coming home champions.”