Tribe Trounced. Kluber clubbed. Best yet, Bauer bushwacked. How sweet it is.
Damn, if the opposition uniforms were blue, I’d swear this Astros team was the one swatting around Dodgers pitching in the World Series last October.
As a team hitting only wRC+ 97 in the last fourteen days of the season, the Astros exploded offensively against some of the best pitchers in baseball. Home runs, all solo shots, by Alex Bregman in the fourth, George Springer and Jose Altuve back to back in the fifth, and one more for good measure by defensive specialist Martin Maldonado in the seventh, would have been more than enough to win behind dominant pitching by Justin Verlander.
Add two RBI by Josh Reddick, one in the fourth inning, and another in the eighth, and another RBI on a single by Alex Bregman in the seventh, two hits each by Springer, Bregman and Tyler White, hits by every starter in the line up but one, and it all adds up to the kind of balanced and relentless attack we saw so much in 2017, but not so much this year.
Four of these runs were against Corey Kluber, one of the AL’s top candidates for Cy Young, which must be demoralizing to the Indians. His game score was only 24.
The Astros pitching, on the other hand, must have left the Indian hitters just a little dazed. Justin Verlander had a no-hitter going through five innings, although he ran out of gas in the sixth, allowing two singles and a walk, and leaving the game with one out and the bases loaded.
Ryan Pressly promptly allowed one runner to score on a wild pitch, and another to score on a fielder’s choice, but he finished the inning whiffing Edwin Encarnacion, preserving a 4-2 lead for Verlander.
Pressly finished the seventh inning looking like the real Blake Treinen, not the imposter who got blown up in New York last Wednesday, and Lance McCullers and Roberto Osuna kept the Tribe quiet in the eighth and ninth innings respectively, as the bullpen collectively allowed zero earned runs.
As Darth Vader once said, “impressive.” The Astros were outstanding in every phase of the game, and look poised to steamroll their way through another playoff gauntlet in 2018.
Here’s Springer and Altuve back to back.
And here’s Breg’s
Tomorrow another great pitching matchup, as Carlos Carrasco goes up against Gerrit Cole. Game time 3:37 CDT on TBS.
Box score and videos here.