Sports Illustrated’s reputation is on the line tonight at Minute Maid Park in Houston!
Here we are — Game 7 of the ALCS — but the Astros still haven’t arrived. Unfortunately, the season may feel like a lost season if the Astros don’t raise a pennant flag tonight.
Despite Justin Verlander and Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, the season comes down to Charlie Morton. And Lance McCullers Jr. And Brad Peacock. And Collin McHugh. And Dallas Keuchel. And Ken Giles. And anyone else warming a seat in the MMP bullpen this weekend. (Heck, I wouldn’t rule out a cameo appearance by Verlander himself.)
It’s an all-hands-on-deck Game 7. And, just for the record, the Astros are 0-1 in championship series Game 7s.
Much will be written, discussed, bandied about, lamented and shouted about tomorrow morning. And for years to come. And there will be questions if the Astros lose tonight. But, for now, the big questions are these:
- Who will be the Roger Clemens of 2017?
- Who will replace Lance Berkman, Chris Burke and Brad Ausmus as heros?
- Does the offensive mojo return for a ALCS grand finale?
- Can A.J. Hinch push the right buttons at the right time?
- Where is Carlos Beltran?
- Does anyone miss Tal’s Hill? (The 400-foot bomb that Springer caught last night was just a long fly ball out in the old park.)
- How close was the Verlander trade to the deadline? First it was “close”, then five minutes, then two minutes to spare. Last night, the story was “two seconds” before the deadline.
- Reckon A.J. would let me coach third base tonight? (Gary Pettis doesn’t seem to have a clue!)
- If Joey Cora leaves for Boston, does Brad Ausmus replace him and sit next to Hinch as bench coach in 2018?
There will be other questions tomorrow, regardless of the outcome tonight. Some of those questions may not be pretty, others will have obvious answers.
For now, bask in the limelight of the biggest baseball game of the Astros’ season on this otherwise NCAA football Saturday.