Astros Win Take Series Lead 3-1 Game Five Friday 6 PM in New York
The quiet New England kid who grew up going to Boston Red Sox games with his dad and granddad, became a pro himself and against Boston's ancient nemesis in New York, George Springer blasted a three run homer in the third inning helping propel the Houston Astros to a three games to one lead in the best of seven ALCS.
The mood in Yankee stadium prior to the game was almost one of an assumption. The subtext of the pregame commentary seemed to assume the Yankees would win. The star Astro pitching acquisition Zack Greinke with two weak-kneed performances in the post-season fueled the speculation. Sure enough he struggled in the first having to fire twenty-eight pitches before retiring the side.
He lasted until the fifth where he allowed two base runners. Now the Yankees began to impatiently sniff the air for the hit or miss Astro bullpen. Greinke allowed one run for the game before hitting the showers. Reliever Ryan Pressly loaded the bases then proceeded to mow down Gleyber Torres and Edwin Encarnacion for arguably two of the biggest outs of the year. It was truly a rare and raw high pressure post season moment in front of the screaming home field crowd in New York. Astros fans all over social media noted they were turning blue from holding their breaths in the Yankee fifth.
But the Astros and George Springer did not allow the presumptive ethereal baseball script written by the New York media to play out. Rather the Gods of Baseball deemed Heroics would come from the visitors and the third inning blow stunned the packed crowd in the House that Ruth Built (and Steinbrenner rebuilt). Later Carlos Correa shot a liner into the left field bleachers with two on, the two homers accounting for six Houston runs.
For the metrics enthusiasts Springer's sock was off a Masahiro Tanaka splitter he splintered off the bat at 109.8 mph. Correa's homer came off reliever Chad Green at 109.5 mph.
Following the Game One loss in Minute Maid Park the Astros won at home on Sunday night and then invaded New York with two more straight wins. A front passing through the upper east coast rained out Wednesday's game, which means both teams will play Friday in New York at 6:00 pm Lake Charles time. Then following the two to four hour game fly to Houston to play Saturday evening at seven. Sunday's game means the rain delay has caused the series contenders to play four games in a row with coast to coast travel between two as Friday would have been the travel day.
However, the Astros of course could wrap up this series with a win Friday night. They're one game away from the World Series where the Washington National's are waiting.
Friday nights Game Five sees the Yankees sending James Paxton to the mound. The thirty-year-old was 15-6 with an ERA of 3.82 in twenty-nine starts with a WHIP of 1.28 in the regular season. Astros Ace Justin Verlander gets the ball and goes to the mound at 21-6, 2.58 in thirty four starts with a WHIP of .80 Verlander also struck out 300 batters this season and has a career SO of 3006.
Game Five is Friday at six, first pitch 6:08 pm on FS1.