Astros: Dallas Keuchel and bats must win Game 5 of the World Series

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: Dallas Keuchel
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: Dallas Keuchel /

The Astros must win to avoid going down 3-2 in the World Series to the Dodgers.

With all that happened in last night’s, Astros fans should still be encouraged for the final three games of the World Series. A.J. Hinch will give their top three starters the ball in Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, and Lance McCullers. Yes, they will be playing on the road for Games 6 and 7, but we have a chance.

Keuchel has been on point for the past three seasons at Minute Maid Park. In his career, Keuchel has a 36-21 record with a 2.94 ERA at home. In Keuchel’s two starts at home this postseason, he has only allowed one earned run in 12 2/3 innings. Those appearances were versus the Red Sox and Yankees. He also struck out 17 batters in those two starts.

Road playoff blues in 2017?

Unfortunately, his last two starts have been on the road. Keuchel has lost to the Yankees 5-0 and the Dodgers 3-1 in Game 1 versus Clayton Kershaw. In those two starts, he has allowed seven earned runs in 11 1/3 innings. To his credit, he made two bad pitches versus the Dodgers in Game 1 that left the ballpark.

With all that being said, it’s not realistic to lose two games at home and win the World Series. This is a must win tonight in front of the home crowd. That’s why I was hoping to win Game 4, so the pressure would be on Kershaw and the Dodgers. That didn’t happen, and we can’t expect the Dodgers to just go quietly into the night.

Put the Dodgers in a back to the wall situation.

If the Astros win today, they will head back to Los Angeles with a 3-2 lead with Verlander on the mound. Like the Astros in the ALCS, the Dodgers would have to win out to prevent elimination. While that could be a motivating factor like what we saw with the Astros in the ALCS, they don’t have their top pitcher available.

Rich Hill looked shaky in his first start and exited early in Game 2. Yu Darvish couldn’t contain the Astros offense in Game 3, so he could be a liability. Maybe they bring Alex Wood back on short rest if Game 7 is needed as he pitched well.

The bottom line is the Astros can’t let the Dodgers gain more momentum going back to LA. We saw what happened with the Astros after the big win in Game 2 with George Springer’s go-ahead homer. They came home and jumped all over to know Darvish out. Last night versus the lefty, they only got two hits.

Next: Astros: Ken Giles not likely to be used in high leverage situations

When Verlander takes the mound on Tuesday, I hope it’s not trick or treat with the Astros down 3-2 in the series. Keuchel needs to do what he does, and Alex Bregman needs to lead this offense to beat the Dodgers. Win or lose, Talking Stros will talk Astros baseball afterward on SportsTalk 790.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***