Red Sox vs Astros
Boston, you have a problem. Down 0-2 in the best of five against a Houston team that hails from a city recovering from a category 5 hurricane – your history of the greatest MLB comeback doesn’t hold a candle.
The Astros are better, much better, and with all due respect, you’re not as talented a team as you were when you beat up on the Bronx bombers in 2004.
Stacked with two Cy Young Award winners at the top of their rotation, and an offense that boasts five batters hitting over .300 in the regular season, the ‘Stros are an embarrassment of baseball riches.
Friday was a repeat performance of the previous 8-2 blowout with Carlos Correa replacing Jose Altuve for RBI bragging rights. His first inning two-run homer brought in his pal, and in the third, Altuve’s run scoring single knocked Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz back to the dugout.
Houston’s starting pitcher, aptly named Dallas Keuchel, dominated for 5 2/3 innings surrendering one run on three hits, striking out seven and a walk.
When the Sox threatened in the second inning cutting the deficit 2-1, Keuchel punched out Xavier Bogaerts and Justin Pedroia, stranding two men on base en route to retiring the next 13 batters.
David Price, in his new relief role, kept the Astros off the scoreboard for 2 2/3 innings, but his cronies out of the bullpen, Addison Reed and Eduardo Rodriguez weren’t as proficient, forking over a pair of runs a piece.
Home field advantage has served every postseason team well so far, except for the Nationals who fell to the Cubs in game one.
As the series heads to Boston on Sunday, the Sox would need the prowess of Big Papi and the heart of Curt Schilling’s blood-soaked ankle to pull off a decisive game five back in Minute Maid Park .
Yankees vs Indians
Cleveland rallies from a five-run deficit with a walk-off win over NY in the 13th inning.
If not for Jay Bruce’s timely game tying solo shot in the eighth, Francisco Lindor’s improbable clutch grand slam in the sixth would have been a disappointing footnote in the final box score.
A team that was doing just fine without him got a gift from the Mets who in exchange received a player that most likely won’t be named for anything later.
Friday at Progressive Field the Indians took the wind out of CC Sabathia’s sails, after the Yankee starter left the mound in the bottom of the sixth with a commanding 8-2 lead.
On a night when the Yankees clobbered Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber for six runs in 2 2/3 innings, they failed to even the series and now face an 0-2 uphill battle at home.
In the sixth, Yankee reliever Chad Green was one strike from a clean getaway when pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall had to be told he was actually hit by the pitch. And just as luck would have it for the Indians, who have a date with redemption, Lindor launched Green’s handing backdoor slider into the seats to pull his team within one.
NY manager Joe Girardi will be raked over the coals the rest of his career for not challenging the call which the replay blatantly showed hit the knob of Chisenhall’s bat landing into catcher Gary Sanchez’s glove for what would have been the third out. That and removing a resilient Sabathia after 77 pitches will most likely cost them the series as George Steinbrenner roles over in his grave.
In the fateful 13th frame, Dellin Betances, who struck out the side in his brief appearance on Thursday, walked Austen Jackson, who then swiped second and scored the winning run on Yan Gomes walk-off base hit to left.
I know it ain’t over ’till it’s over, but the band is playing and the fat lady is just about to sing.