Ahem. Now we have a rivalry. The Astros won Game 5, 5-4. It was the Astros' 7th straight postseason road win, their last postseason road loss coming in 2022 World Series Game 3, the "Let McCullers Get Shelled and Then Throw A No-Hitter" game.
FanGraphs: Houston 78.4 - 21.6 Six Flags.
Let's look at the Win Expectancy Roller Coaster:
1st Inning - Bregman solo homer: 55.8% Astros
4th Inning - Lowe solo homer: 53.8% Ramgers
6th Inning - Jose Abreu RBI single: 73.8% Astros
6th Inning - Adolis Garcia 3-run homer: 82.7% Rangers
8th Inning - Adolis Garcia HBP: 96.0% Rangers
9th Inning - Yainer Diaz single: 84.3% Rangers
9th Inning - Jon Singleton walk: 72.2% Rangers
9th Inning - Jose Altuve 3-run homer: 82.9% Astros
9th Inning - Mitch Garver single: 65.2% Astros
9th Inning - Jonah Heim single: 53.2% Rangers
9th Inning - Evan Carter strikeout: 100.0% Astros
*Let's talk about that Adolis Garcia HBP:
-Did Adolis Garcia pimp his three-run homer in the 6th? Absolutely! Did he have every right to do that? For sure! I would still be moonwalking between 1st and 2nd base if I had hit that home run, which was actually Adolis Garcia's 100th career home run. That home run was massive. Absolutely no issue with Garcia slamming the bat down and yelling.
-Did Abreu try to hit him? Obviously I'm biased. I've spent a number of years referring to the Rangers as being located in a different random Metroplex suburb. I hate that team. That said, there is absolutely no reason to hit Adolis Garcia. Evan Carter was on 1st base after Abreu walked him. It was 4-2 Rangers, and the Astros had three outs to play with before having to go back to Minute Maid Park needing to win both games to win the Pennant. I'm sure the Astros have won back-to-back home games in 2023...but I can't quite remember when. (September 9-10 vs San Diego).
-What I'm trying to say is that intentionally hitting Garcia would be the height of stupidity. Garcia had woken up the World's Largest Storage Unit already, there would be no reason to fan the flames. I think Abreu was trying to blow an fastball by him. There were 0 outs. Maybe get a GIDP.
-I also understand why Garcia was pissed off. If someone hit me with a 97mph fastball you would see my soul ascend (I'm assuming I'm going to Heaven) on a cloud, playing a harp. There wouldn't even be dental records, such would be my demise.
-Shoutout to Dusty Baker for actually getting out of the dugout and putting his finger in one the faces of this awful umpiring crew. Dusty: "I haven't been that mad in a long time."
-Altuve's homer got Marvin Hudson off the hook for what was an absolutely God-awful job behind the plate. I didn't know Dusty had it in him. It also got Altuve off the hook for trying to bunt with Tucker on second base.
-Ultimately Garcia's outburst may have actually cost the Ramgers that game. He iced LeClerc, which is French for "The Clerc," for 11 minutes after he got Michael Brantley to juuuust get under one to end the inning with Kyle Tucker on second base. LeClerc's 9th Inning: Walk, Walk, Homer (then some outs).
I was concerned about that delay. I really was. It as a long one. It was taking too long, to be honest. The whole thing is a bunch of crap, to be honest, what happened there. Who knows what intentions are, but it's not the first time it's happened, and couldn't get the game going again.
I'm not used to waiting around that long to pitch again, but it's no excuse. I needed to execute my pitches and do a better job.
That doesn't happen if Adolis Garcia just walks to first.
-But if Abreu did it on purpose, then he's dumb as hell and deserved to get tossed. And suspended.
*Abreu apparently told Garcia that it wasn't on purpose, and Garcia responded: "Bullshit."
*To the "Game:"
Verlander made one bad pitch. That pitch also moved Verlander out of a tie with Clayton Kershaw for the 2nd-most postseason home runs allowed and past Andy Pettitte's 31 playoff homers and into sole possession of most postseason home runs allowed, at 32.
Of the 32 postseason home runs Verlander has now allowed, 19 have come with the Astros. That breakdown:
Grand Slams: 0
It's the 9th time Verlander has allowed 2HR in a postseason game, and the 6th time it's happened with the Astros, who are now 2-4 in postseason games in which Verlander gives up 2HR.
*Jordan Montgomery vs Houston, ALCS: 11.2IP, 10H/2ER, 9K:3BB.
*Shoutout to Yainer Diaz, who got his first career postseason hit.
*Shoutout to Jon Singleton, who drew a walk that became the tying run in his first plate appearance since October 1. Singleton:
You put in the hard work, and you stay ready so you don't have to get ready. That's been my motto so far this year.
*Jose LeClerc had only allowed 23 homers in 302.1 career IP. He had given up 5HR in the 2023 regular season. Only one of those career home runs had more than one on base - a grand slam to Julio Rodriguez on July 15, 2022. And then came Jose Altuve.
*Jose Altuve hit his 26th career postseason home run to record his 54th career postseason RBI. It was his first multi-RBI game since 2021 ALCS G2. Altuve had 3RBI in his previous 25 postseason games combined. Listen to Robert Ford's call of the home run.
I know everybody is talking about the homer. But if you go and see Diaz's base hit and then Singleton's walk, especially when he hasn't played in a lot of days...coming from the bench facing probably one of the best closers right now in the playoffs, I think the key was these two guys and to be able to score all those runs.
*Alex Bregman's 18th career postseason home run moves him into a tie for 3rd in franchise history with Carlos Correa. He needs one more to tie George Springer for 2nd.
*Kyle Tucker got two hits in a postseason game since 2022 World Series Game 1.
*It was Ryan Pressly's first career postseason six-out save, and just the 2nd six-out save of his career.
What To Watch, October 21
Everton @ Liverpool: 6:30am Central
Leeds United @ Norwich: 9am
Penn State @ Ohio State: 11am
Arsenal @ Chelsea: 11:30am
Tennessee @ Alabama: 2:30pm
Texas @ Houston: 3pm
Washington @ Montreal: 6pm
Utah @ USC: 7pm
*A Musical Selection: