Javier is all aces in Astros’ must win

There may not be any bigger difference in a seven-game series than a fourth game that could end up 3-1 in one team’s favor or all tied up at 2-2. Mathematically 3-1 is still doable, but there is no margin for error in having to win all 3 vs. playing a best 2 out of 3. Game 4 from the Astros side really was a must-win to not only even the series but to force the series to eventually move back to Houston and to take the wind out of the Philly sails.

After being crushed in Game 3, a game that the Astros fell way behind early and died meekly under the onslaught of five Philly home runs and a crazed road crowd, the Astros needed a step change in Game 4. That step change was a brilliant six-inning, nine-K, no hit performance by Cristian Javier. This was pitching at its best as he challenged fastball hitters with a fastball that they either missed or popped up all night. Heading into the sixth inning the Phils had struck out nine times and flied out six times with no groundballs. He gave up three ground balls in the sixth and then went to sit down and watch his bullpen close out the game and the no hitter. It was a brilliant start at a time when a bad start could have left the team on life support.

Bryan Abreu was dominant in fanning three. Rafael Montero retired them 1-2-3 in the eighth, and Ryan Pressly gave up one walk but held them in check to complete only the second no-hitter in World Series history and the first multi-pitcher no hitter in the WS.

The offense did its part, assisted by a pitching change decision that will haunt Phillies Manager Rob Thomson. The Astros had put a number of runners on against Aaron Nola but failed to get any of them home in the first four innings. In the fifth, they started the inning with 3 straight singles to load the bases, and Thomson decided to bring in lefty Jose Alvarado to face Yordan Alvarez. This was immediately a bad move as his first pitch drilled YA and brought in the Astros’ first run. Alex Bregman got behind 0-2 but fought off one tough pitch and then lifted everyone’s spirits with a beautiful shot the other way for a two-run double. It was the most important at bat of the game. Kyle Tucker easily drove in a run with a medium deep sacrifice fly, and Yuli Gurriel continued his strong postseason with a big run-scoring single to give the Astros a 5-0 lead. This was the 3rd 5-0 lead for the Astros in the series, and unlike Game 1, they were not giving this one back.

That leads us to the next “Must Win” game for the Astros in Game 5. Yes, they could win both home games in Games 6 and 7 if they needed it, but it would be wonderful to come home with only one game required to win the World Series. If vintage Justin Verlander is able to make an appearance, this should be a good game for the Astros. If tentative World Series JV shows up, they better have the bullpen ready earlier this game.

But it is a pleasure to be writing about baseball games rather than off-season moves like 28 of the teams’ fans are focusing on these days. Go Astros! Continue to make us proud. (And maybe score a run or two after the fifth inning).


24 comments on “Javier is all aces in Astros’ must win

  1. Javier said his favorite song is from an obscure band named El Reptilz:

    No-no, no, no, no-no-no, no, no-no, no, no-no
    Na-no, no, na-no, no-no, na-no, no-no, no, no-no, no

    Nobody can no-hit the Yankees like I do
    Nobody can hide a fastball like I do
    Nobody can sling a slider like I do
    Nobody can no-hit Philly like I do!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hopefully JV was taking notes on Javier’s performance. And maybe the offense could watch some films of those 10 runs or better performance. Kind of tongue in cheek deal there but I think you get the point. It’s time to get serious and win this game. That means Altuve needs to stop trying to pull the ball and Hensley or Vasquez at DH.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Holding breath too much. We really need the bats to get on track and help Verlander out. It does not look like he’s going to give us the game we need from him. I’d take our pen tied 1-1 in the 3rd or 4th.


  3. What a 5 out close from Pressly. I thought we didn’t do that.
    Four more huge outs against the big bats for the veteran Abreu.
    Chas made the catch of his career after being overmatched all night at the plate.
    They don’t seem to have catch probabilities in the World Series.
    Pena was not overmatched at the plate last night.
    Altuve is ready to have his big game in Houston.
    Henry Mancini, the guy that has forgotten how to hit, saved it with his glove.
    I was surprised Diaz did not go out to first.
    I hope Yuli just has a headache.
    I’m thinking Verlander’s 15 outs last night were his last as an Astro.
    Let’s finish this thing so I can get the turkey stuffed.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The ghost of Kenny Rogers (the singer, not the pitcher) visited me last night. He had this to say:

    On a cool, autumn evenin’, on a plane bound for H-town;
    Valdez and Verlander found themselves too wired to sleep;
    So they took turns admiring … the replay vids of that night,
    and they counted Astro highlights instead of counting sheep.

    Then JV turned to Framber, said, “Son, I’m not a gambler,
    but I’d bet my sweet bride’s glamour,
    that your veins aren’t filled with ice;
    You’re probably tense and nervous;
    feel the world’s weight on your shoulders,
    That if we finish title-holders, you’ll need to beat the Phillies twice.

    Well, the first time you surprised ‘em; tore ‘em up, & flat Framb-chised ‘em;
    Caught ‘em lookin’ for the fastball;
    mowed ‘em down like bowling pins;
    Ah, but this time they’ll be ready;
    so you’ll have to trust Machete;
    When he sets that target- nail it!
    And give the team a chance to win.

    You got to know when to tease ‘em; know when to cheeze ‘em;
    Know when to brush ‘em back; know when they’re ‘done’;
    You never count on strikeouts,
    you just take ‘em where you find ‘em;
    and keep poundin’ the corners, till the game is won.

    And when he finished speakin’, JV turned back towards the window;
    Shut down his I-Pad screen; and began to snore;
    But til the plane touched down in H-town,
    Framber planned the Phillies take-down;
    To some folks this is just a game – but to Framber? It’s a war!

    And you got to know when to tease ‘em; know when to cheeze ‘em;
    Know when to brush ‘em back; know when they’re ‘done’;
    You never count on strikeouts,
    you just take ‘em where you find ‘em;
    and keep poundin’ the corners, till the game is won.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t commented much. Black powder season has come and gone. Haying is done. The drought licked the hay’s ass.
    Waiting on the rest of the fall calves to drop.
    Soon, a new bull goes in with the cows, because the old bull is making calves who aren’t putting on premium weight. Old bull will go. He worked fine for show heifers who needed smaller firstborn, but he has worn out his welcome.
    Rifle season in two weeks, then Thanksgiving and decorating.
    Here is hoping we are celebrating late Saturday night, in time for the Time Change.
    Some thoughts:
    * If the Astros win the WS, Verlander would have been worth all the money for the last three years.
    * These playoffs have probably sealed Aledmys Diaz’s departure.
    * Chas may have found a home for the next few years.
    * Pena can’t be this good for the next five years, can he?
    * If Click isn’t rehired, it is because of something other than his ability to run a team.
    * Forrest Whitley is 24 and Bryan Abreu is 25. Abreu became a good reliever just this year and it seemed to be all in his head.
    * I know Pena has been terrific, but Javier still seems like he is the guy who turned this series around.
    * I’m getting ahead of myself, because this thing isn’t over yet.


    • Here’s an interesting note. If we bid Diaz goodbye does Hensley take his place? Maybe not as likely to hit the long ball but base hits are nice. Do we bring back Yuli if he wants to return given his performance in the post season? Although Mancini has not hit a lick in the post season, he earned his pay with that play in the 8th that stopped the potential rally for the Phillies. Chaz may have finally come into his own but I would like to see his average go up a few more points. It would be nice if the 1st 5 in the order would go crazy Saturday and put some big numbers on tehe scoreboard.


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