And you just thought that Game 4 was the pivotal game of the 2017 World Series.
Enter Game 5, the most important game of the 2017 World Series. Win tonight’s game and the Astros are in the driver’s seat. Win tonight’s game and the Dodgers own the driver’s seat, the passenger’s seat, the entire back seat, and relegate the Astros to the back of the truck.
Yes, it’s important. And, you can bet Dallas Keuchel understands the ramifications, implications, complications and consquences.
Tonight’s game may define the short leash. Keuchel may get the benefit of the doubt, but A.J. Hinch will likely be on the top step of the dugout with any other pitcher tonight.
But perhaps more than a good game from Keuchel, the one thing that Houston may need more is for Jose Altuve to be Jose Altuve. When he hits, it electifies the team. Has LA figured him out or is he just in a slump that has him chasing — and missing — pitches?
Keuchel can throw a complete game, two-hitter and give up one run. However, if Houston doesn’t hit, it won’t matter. You gotta dance with what brung you here and that’s the best-hitting team in the majors.
There are several oddities in this World Series. For example:
- Houston has only one stolen base, but eight home runs.
- The AL batting champion (Jose Altuve) has three hits and one RBI.
- The two leadoff hitters (George Springer and Alex Bregman) have as many home runs (4) and RBI (7) together as the rest of the team combined.
- Evan Gattis has three walks and no Ks in eight plate appearances.
- The Astros have scored 15 runs in 4 games, but 12 of those runs have come in two games.
And, a couple of questions….
- With up to three games to go, do you really believe that Hinch won’t have to use Ken Giles, Luke Gregerson or Joe Musgrove or even Francisco Liriano?
- In a real tight, specific situation — and with a day off tomorrow — is Justin Verlander available for a hitter or an inning?
- What will be an early tip-off to you that Game 5 is or is not going well?