Tuesday night gave us one of the most agonized Astros games in recent history as the Phillies’ offense had no mercy against Lance McCullers Jr., hitting five home runs off the righty. Trailing the World Series 2-1, the Astros need someone to step up and limit the locals’ lineup and that’s why they’re going tonight with Cristian Javier as their starter.
25-year-old Javier is starting against veteran Aaron Nola in Game 4, just hours from now. Based on his hot streak, his successful track in the postseason, and his ability to pitch in tough scenarios, Javier is the man to trust at this moment when the Astros can’t now allow themselves to fall behind 3-1.
Even though Javier has never pitched against the Phillies in his career–which can be a good thing—, there’s more than one reason to believe in him tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
Taking into account his final four starts of the regular season, the Dominican right-hander owns an 0.30 ERA in his six most recent appearances. Over that span, he’s thrown 29 2/3 innings and surrendered just eight hits and one earned run while giving up nine walks and striking out 36 hitters. If that’s not some momentum, I don’t what it is then.
Besides, as if he was destined to pitch tonight, he gave up only one home run across those six games.
Among pitchers with at least 140 innings pitched, Javier just posted the fourth-lowest opponent OPS in a single season since 1920 (live ball era). His outstanding .170 mark only trails Luis Tiant’s .168 in 1968, Pedro Martínez’s .167 in 2000, and Freddy Peralta’s .165 last year.
Going into his postseason stats, Javier has only one start under his belt in October – he threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings of one hit against the Yankees on October 22. However, he’s been pretty effective so far, pitching 26 2/3 innings and allowing 14 hits plus eight earned runs. In that number of innings, Javier has struck out 39 batters.
Hey! And if you’re thinking Javier is too young to start such an important game like this one, let me tell you something. He is young indeed, but he’s been great so far for the Astros, especially pitching in not-so-friendly environments as the below stats suggest…
- Throughout his career, Cristian Javier has a .175/.252/.321 opponent slash line in high-leverage situations with 43 strikeouts over 137 at-bats.
- With runners in scoring position, rivals have posted a .180/.276/.355 off him in his career.
You have to think that, at the very least, Javier will give the Astros a chance to stay in the contest and compete to take this Game 4 home. In Cristian Javier we trust!