It is October 29, 2019. Game 6 is tonight, two years to the day after Game 5. The roof will be closed. Clay Walker - the only living singer in the Houston area not currently consumed by The Sickness - will sing the National Anthem. Hakeem Olajuwon will throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Clyde Drexler. 25 years ago the Rockets were down 0-2 to the Suns in the Western Conference Semifinals after losing both games at home and won the series and the title. It took the Rockets seven games. My major organs can't take seven games in the World Series again. But I feel good, and here's why:
-2006 AL Rookie of the Year
-2007 AL League-Leader in Win% (18-6, .750)
-2011 Pitching Triple-Crown Winner, AL MVP, AL Cy Young
-Seven (soon-to-be Eight) Top 5 Cy Young voting
-8-time All-Star, two-time All-Star Game SP
-5-time strikeout leader
-4-time WHIP leader
-2017 Trade Deadline Winner, ALCS MVP, World Series Champion
-All-time postseason strikeout leader
Justin Verlander is 0-5 in seven World Series starts. This is literally the only thing he's missing: a World Series win. He checks that box in Game 6. A.J. Hinch:
This would be a nice bullet on his resume into Cooperstown.
*FanGraphs has it 84.9-15.1 Astros.
ZiPS says it's 56.1% Astros tonight.
FiveThirtyEight has it 59-41 Astros in Game 6.
Bovada has the Astros at -177 tonight.
*The 2019 Astros' season started on March 28, 2019. They're 117-61 (.657) since. One more win. 118-62 is not ideal, but acceptable. 117-63 is completely unacceptable. But let's remember that the Houston Astros won 117 games from April 1, 2011 - April 23, 2013. Their record in that span: 117-227 (.340)
*Hunter Atkins: How the Astros got their swagger back.
[Game 6 will be] the hardest 27 outs we've gotten all season.
*ESPN: Six key questions heading into Game 6.
*Jeff Passan: How one blown strike call in Game 5 illustrates the need for Robot Umps. Still waiting on the "How One Blown Catcher's Interference Call In Game 1 Illustrates the Need for Robot Umps" thinkpiece.
*SI's Emma Baccellieri: How the Nationals can win out.
*Lance McCullers hit 90 on the gun.
*You need this shirt.
*The Athletic's Rustin Dodd: The pain and anguish of Max Scherzer. Jake Kaplan, on the potential leaving legacy of Gerrit Cole. McHugh, on Cole:
It's kind of unprecedented, what he's done. We thought last year, watching him, that he had made incredible strides, and that he had become the pitcher that everybody thought he could be. And then this year he's done that and more. He's refined his stuff even further. His delivery has been as consistent as I've ever seen a pitcher have a delivery over the course of like a full, at this point, almost 40 starts this year.
Ken Rosenthal: Did Gerrit Cole just set himself up for a $300m contract? It's crazy to think that Cole could make $1m per start. It's crazier to think the Astros might not pay him because of one year over the luxury tax.
Tom Verducci: How Gerrit Cole crafted a masterpiece without his best stuff.
*Former Astros Great Seth Beer was ranked by Baseball America as the hottest prospect to close out the Arizona Fall League. Zack Greinke helped win Game 3 and more than made up for the collapse of Wade Miley.
*SI ranked the best World Series games of the decade. 2017 Game 2 was 4th, Game 5 was 3rd. This list is already invalid. I can, off the top of my head, think of the top seven World Series games off the top of my head, with the possibility of an 8th on Tuesday. 2011 Game 6 ranked 1st, so that's some comfort for us Astros fans.
*Former Astros Great Nick Tropeano was outrighted off the Angels' 40-Man Roster, after electing free agency over a minor-league assignment. Astros won the Hank Conger trade.
*The bridesmaid Dodgers are going to try to trade for Cleveland's Francisco Lindor.
*Former Astros Great Carlos Beltran is in the mix for the Mets' job.
*President Harry S. Truman was booed at a Nationals game in 1951, 22 years after President Herbert Hoover was booed by fans yelling "We want beer!" None of this is false.
*In the Centenary Month of Leeds United, My Dude Phil Hay has a tragic telling of what it's like to play for, and be a fan of, LUFC.
*A Musical Selection: