After the no-hitter slashing of the Phillies in Game 4, the Astros moved on to Game 5 which was the type of game that often decides these series. Game 5 was tough, close, and low scoring, but with plenty of great plays and great performances.
There were plenty to choose from for the winning team…..
- Ryan Pressly. Raise your hand if you thought that the Astros would escape with the lead from the jam Rafael Montero created in the eighth. I didn’t think so. Montero, who has been great down the stretch but perhaps over-used, had a lapse in control that put two of the lower end of the order Phillies on base and then gave up a run with a Jean Segura single that cut the Astros lead to 3-2 and left men at the corners with one out. Fans have seen this scenario in the playoffs over the years, and it rarely ends well. Pressly proceeded to tempt Brandon Marsh into three bad swings and then, with the help of another hero (see below), retired Kyle Schwarber, to end the inning. He then retired the third, fourth, and fifth hitters in the ninth. Sure, he put the cleanup hitter Bryce Harper on base with an HBP, but most fans were happy with that and the results. This was his first 5 out save of the season.
- Jeremy Pena. Carlos Who? – The Astros scored 3 runs on Thursday night, and their wunderkind shortstop was in the middle of each one of those scores. In the first inning, Pena followed up a Jose Altuve double that was booted as Jose raced to third with a run-scoring single through a drawn-in infield. (Who the heck draws in the infield in the first inning)? Pena, who was the first rookie SS to win a Gold Glove, became the first rookie SS to hit a World Series homer (according to the guys on Fox, who I am not always sure I trust) in the fourth inning. This gave the Astros a 2-1 lead they held until the top of the eighth inning when Pena poked a hit and run grounder perfectly behind Altuve, which set up Jose scoring on a hard hit ground out by Yordan Alvarez, that was muffed.
- Justin Verlander. Verlander started the game with a 1-0 lead that lasted two pitches or until Kyle Schwarber tomahawked a wimpy elevated fastball into the right field seats. JV drove us crazy for a bit and had us texting messages about pulling him early, as he seemed to spend his whole outing pitching from the stretch. But he overcame 4 hits and 4 walks in 5 innings and never gave up another run after that homer. That effort, plus some help from his friends, gave him his first World Series win in his storied career. Pretty special.
- Chas McCormick. After producing hits in the first four games of the series, Chas had his quietest offensive game with an 0 for 4 and 1 K. No one will remember that. All everyone will remember is seeing him racing to the right-centerfield fence, leaping, and catching a ball that looked like it might be a heartbreaker when it left JT Realmuto’s bat. Considering the circumstances, that was easily a top 5 all-time defensive play for the Astros in the playoffs. (We won’t talk about how his early inning timidity almost allowed a fly ball to fall between him and Kyle Tucker).
- Bryan Abreu. Abreu came into the sixth inning with a man on first and two outs and immediately plunked Brandon Marsh. He then retired Schwarber to end the inning and mowed through the heart of the order in the seventh, striking out Rhys Hoskins and Realmuto and getting Harper to pop out. Abreu has become a beast out of the bullpen as the regular season has flipped into the postseason.
- Jose Altuve. It is almost beyond belief that the Astros are on the brink of the World Championship in a postseason where Jose Altuve has neither a home run nor an RBI. But on this night, with the help of his keystone mate, Pena, he had two hits and a walk and scored two runs, including the one in the first inning and the one in the eighth that was the difference in the game. Altuve seems to be coming around and that can only be a positive for the team’s offense.
- Trey Mancini. After finishing the regular season on a 1 for 17 run (trot? stumble?), Trey, in his first postseason after a solid career with the Orioles, is 0 for 18 in 2022. This included another strikeout in hitting for an obviously hurting Yuli Gurriel in the 8th inning. But all was forgiven when Mancini awkwardly stabbed an absolute short hop bullet off of Schwarber’s bat in the eighth to end the inning. Yes, Yuli probably catches it, but not necessarily depending on how far he hops off the base, and if this ball got by Mancini, the Phils either tie the game or take the lead late. Contrast the Mancini play with the Phils’ 1B Hoskins bobbling an easier chance in the top of the inning that allowed Altuve to score, and it’s easy to see how a play here or there can change the results of a game or a series.
Speaking of which, the Astros come home with a 3-2 lead in the series and a chance to clinch it Saturday night. With this tough, scrappy Phillies team, the sooner, the better, guys.
Watched the shortened version of the game again tonight. what a thrill. Again.
In game 5, our Astros made all the plays in a match that allowed zero room for error. The Phillies did not. This is a tough series to figure. My stomach does not want to go to a game 7. If Framber is close to what he provided in game 2, we’re in good shape. Can the offense finally put a whole game together, up and down the line-up? We’re due.
Just what I was thinking. Alvarez, Bregman and Tucker are due!
– Bregman’s got this weird slash line .222 BA/ .364 OBP/ .919 OPS for the World Series – he’s getting on base with not enough hits, but when he hits them he is slugging well. Tucker had those two home runs in the first game loss and not much else and Alvarez has been stone cold at .105 BA for the WS.
– Yes, this is the game to get that offense rolling and bury these suckers. Framber needs to breathe
– The last thing I saw was Yuli said he would be ready today despite his knee discomfort. When he was sitting on the bench with his head in his hands I was worried about concussion. Having him in is important for our defense (even with Mancini’s snag).
– Rested bullpen – all hands on deck and I hope we only need a couple of them
– How about Chas celebrating his huge catch with a big opposite field home run tonight?
– Will Altuve and Pena pick up where they left off last night as the trigger to our offense (and hopefully with more assistance this game)?
My brother just texted Yuli is out – oh well – next man up
Korey lee has been added to the roster. Mancini is playing 1B, Maldonado is catching and Vasquez is the DH.
Lee is emergency catcher.
Yordan breaks out in the greatest way!!!
Happy, happy, happy! So glad the guys came through. Great pitching, timely hitting, well managed. Just super!
And congratulations to the Phillies. What good ball team. I’m sure they’ll be back. Their fans should be proud.
Congratulations all my friends who stuck with this team all this year and all these years!!
Congrats to you and all the folks here. Dan, you stuck with us and I am so emotional and filled with awe at what the Astros have acomplished.
Becky, how bout them Astros!