Astros: Slick baseballs and pine tar on hats in Game 5
By Eric Huysman
Astros fans cheered and cried during Game 5 of the World Series, what led to the wild and crazy game?
If you are a baseball purist, you like pitchers duels and low scoring ballgames. Blowout games would also probably be boring to you as well. If you like a little more excitement, you want both teams to crush the ball. If Astros fans want to have heart problems mixed in with pure joy, Game 5 of the 2017 World Series was just for you.
Astros fans were excited about the outcome, but that game was an emotional roller coaster ride. The old phrase is chicks dig the long ball, maybe that’s why all the ladies are talking about the Astros now. They hit four homers in the game, which either tied or gave them the lead.
Between the Astros and the Dodgers, they have combined for 21 homers in the first five games of the World Series. That ties for the most in World Series history with the 2002 Fall Classic. With the big boppers on both sides, one has to wonder what the deal is with the unbelievable power numbers?
Jose Altuve has tied Daniel Murphy (2015) for hitting seven homers in a postseason by a second baseman. He has been
One reason could rest with a tired bullpen on both sides. The Dodgers have had only one starter go past 5 2/3 innings in Clayton Kershaw, and that was their Game 1 victory. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has managed his bullpen oddly, but the same can be said for A.J. Hinch. Both bullpens are worn down as evident by the offensive explosion.
According to Tom Verducci and others, pitchers have said that the World Series baseballs seem slicker. Justin Verlander discusses this before Game 5. We saw how Dallas Keuchel struggled with command issues and relievers struggled to hold the scoring down. The primary pitches that are affected by the slickness are sliders.
Could this have been the reasons for the bullpen struggles? This could lead to the extra offense because pitches are not doing what they want it to do. However, that shouldn’t be a big deal if true because both sides are using the same baseballs.
While no one was talking about it, some people on Twitter pointed out that Kershaw had what looked like pine tar on his cap. Could pitchers be using it to get a better grip on the baseball? I’m sure if either team were suspicious, then something would have been done.
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No excuses, the Astros must win tonight, and Verlander must pitch deep into the game. This is the game that we traded for. He needs to be fabulous on the mound. They are one win away from earning history!
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***