WORLD SERIES

Astros just need one more bit of magic to close out a memorable run

The Astros were magical last night. Can they do it one more time? Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

There is only one word to describe Game 5 of the World Series.

Epic.

In the Astros’ 13-12, instant classic victory, one player after another stood up when it counted. Yuli Gurriel’s homer to tie it at 4. Jose Altuve’s to tie it at 7. George Springer’s to tie it at 8.

The Brian McCann gave Houston a 12-9 lead headed to the ninth, and it appeared the Astros would hold on.

They didn’t. The Dodgers, equally resilient, tied it up in the top of the inning.

But Alex Bregman came up with a clutch single in the 10th off of one of the most feared relievers in baseball, and the Astros are now one game away from their first ever World Series title. The scene returns to LA for Game 6 with the Astros leading three games to two, and the ride is nearly over.

And what a ride it has been. These two teams are so evenly matched that you could expect almost any outcome. Certainly having Justin Verlander on the mound for Game 6 should be an advantage for the Astros; this is, after all, why they brought him in. But who would have thought Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw would not make it past the fifth inning in Game 5?

Houston fans should appreciate what they are seeing. This is one of those sports moments that might never be duplicated. It’s certainly unprecedented in Astros history.

So what happens next? The Astros will need Verlander to be at his very best. The bullpen is strained and ineffective, so the Astros will ride their ace as long as they can. And the Astros need to get to Rich Hill early, so the Dodgers equally taxed bullpen has to decide the game.

If it gets to a Game 7, the Dodgers would have a distinct advantage, so the best chance at the first-ever title might be Tuesday night, with Verlander on the mound.

We have seen so much magic during this amazing run to this point. The Astros just need one more bit of magic. One more win. One more heroic effort.

And that would be the most epic result yet.

 

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The Astros have now lost five straight games and the starting pitching and bullpen have let them down over that stretch. Cristian Javier was recently demoted to help him build up his stamina so that he can pitch deeper in games as the team's 5th starter when the schedule demands a 5-man starting rotation. But in the meantime, the Astros could desperately use his help out of the bullpen, and he's likely headed for relief duty when Framber Valdez returns from injury anyway. So this begs the question, is a role as the team's fifth starter the best way to maximize Javier's abilities? Check out the video to find out.

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