Astros: World Series Preview – Game 5

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 28: Dallas Keuchel
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 28: Dallas Keuchel /

Sunday’s important Game 5 of the World Series will be the last home game in 2017 for the Astros.

The Astros are in a predicament now. After wasting a fine performance by Charlie Morton in Game 4, the team finds themselves in a near must-win situation with the World Series tied two games apiece. Against a Dodgers’ all-time pitcher, Clayton Kershaw.

If the Astros lose this game, they will need to win two straight in Los Angeles to claim their first World Series title. That’s a rather tall task. Not impossible, mind you, but it’s one of high difficulty.

Fortunately for Houston, Dallas Keuchel is on the mound tonight. And the game is at Minute Maid Park, a place where Keuchel had a 2.26 ERA in 71.2 innings during the 2017 regular season. That’s quite good.

I would like to caution, though, that Keuchel will have to pitch well today. The past starts do not matter. But if he is able to repeat history, then the Astros should feel pretty good about their chances.

Assuming Keuchel pitches well, the question is whether the Astros’ bats can get to Kershaw. The talented left-hander has a 2.03 road ERA in 84.1 innings in the regular season. And he is well-rested. Don’t forget that he, Rich Hill and Alex Wood have given the Astros’ lineup fits in three of the first four games in the World Series. This an Astros’ offense that was quite efficient – 120 wRC+ – against left-handed pitchers. But that split matters little now.

Keep an eye on Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa for Game 5.

Despite their big home runs in Game 2, both hitters will need to show up for Game 5 and Game 6. In Game 4, the Astros’ duo went 0-for-6 with a walk. In Game 3, they went 2-for-10 with three strikeouts. In Game 1, they went 1-for-7 with two strikeouts. Um, yeah, the Astros need two of their best hitters to step up to have a chance against Kershaw.

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

If the Astros somehow come away with the win in Game 5, they will be in good shape heading into Game 6 in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Justin Verlander will be the starting pitcher. But a win in Game 5 is paramount.

**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and**