The Astros played a baseball game on Tuesday night. Let’s talk about it for a few minutes.
On an early April night with the roof closed (for most of the night) and in front of 37,106 fans with severe thunderstorms on the way, the Astros received their World Series rings. Like the night before and the trouble unveiling the World Series banner, the Astros went out and did what the Astros do. Win in dramatic fashion. Because who wants to witness a ring ceremony followed by a boring game?
It wasn’t the most conventional game to win, but that is what this team is: unconventional. Rallying around each other when a teammate is down, they pick them up. And picking up right where they left off is what made for a memorable night.
An instant classic?
We’ve all had those games. The ones we remember for decades. Personally, mine was the 18-inning playoff game. Could last night’s game climb into your top memorable games? My best friends were at that game, and they were ecstatic! Text messages like this poured into my cellular device.
“What a game to be at!”
They even made the JumboTron then on TV. My friend Katie was at this game wearing the lucky retro Astros jacket her father handed down to her before his passing. This was sure to be another instant classic for her as he wore this same jacket to many games including the 18-inning playoff game. I had the pleasure of listening to the play-by-play on the radio as I often do. It allows my brain to imagine a little. And, I don’t have AT&T sports net. But that’s beside the point.
How could the 6th game of the season be such an instant classic?
It featured Carlos Beltran receiving his ring. A Carlos Correa inside-the-park home run. Josh Reddick singlehandedly flipped the script in this one. That’s just a quick recap.
Verlander’ s home debut
Justin Verlander didn’t have the home debut he wanted, but he was bailed out early. The highly coveted free agent who pitched lights out last season in route to the Astros first-ever championship history had plenty of run support to get him off the hook. After posting a 0.00 ERA in his first game this season, Verlander went 5.2 allowing six hits, 4 runs two home runs on 103 pitches. He did have nine strikeouts which is remarkable but was taken out of a jam by Chris Devenski and newly acquired Hector Rondon, who got credit for the win. Isn’t this why the Astros went out and signed Hector Rondon and Joe Smith for this reason alone? When the ace struggles, the depth will bail him out. This was Joe Smith’s 700th career appearance for those keeping track of those milestones I mentioned last week.
Inside-the-park home run
Arguably the most exciting real-time play in baseball…The Inside the Park Homerun. With the Astros down 1-0 early and Jose Altuve on base, Correa launches a ball that decided to stay inside and make its best ricochet impression. This unexpected development allows enough time for him to turn the afterburners on despite a nagging big toe to sprint home. You couldn’t tell he had an injured bruised big toe, but that’s who a perennial MVP in Correa is.
Reddick is an absolute beast. Can we agree? If you do let out a “Rick Flair Woooooo” with me. Ok, now that everyone around you is looking at you crazy, focus back on the article, so you don’t draw more attention to yourself! For the fact that we are talking about the catch in depth-first instead of his two home run night reflects on how special that “catch” was.
Setting it up. Justin Verlander’s best stuff wasn’t available, and the Orioles got to him early and often. With no outs and runners on the corners in the top of the fourth, Verlander delivers a 2-1 to Trey Mancini who lifts a high fly ball sure to give the Orioles a 4-2 lead.
Reddick tracks the ball and backtracks at the warning track and leaps over the right-field wall backward to make an amazing grab which turned out to be a sac-fly allowing only one run. Justin depended on his outfielder to make the play, and with all that in mind, you could see Reddick calculate the velocity and track of the ball. In that situation, you hope for a sac-fly run allowed, and that’s exactly what came of it. He robbed the Orioles of a three-run shot and got his pitcher out of a jam.
Two unlikely home runs
Dexter Fowler-esque, over and over to break his early-season hitting slump, Josh Reddick came through with a hit on Monday night. But for a slumping Reddick consecutive hit games would suffice his confidence and get him rolling. We didn’t expect him to shake the cobwebs off with not one but two home runs. And he didn’t either.
Have yourself a game, young man.
His first home run came in the bottom of the 6th with the Astros down 4-3 with one out and Correa on first. He sends one high and deep to right field sending Santander to the track over the wall and gone to give Houston a 5-4 lead.
Leading 6-5 in the bottom of the 7th with bases loaded. George Springer on third. Alex Bregman on second and Correa on first. Two outs and a full count. Wait… Am I describing some sort of little league movie or pickup softball situation? Never mind. Back to the count. Nestor Cortez Jr. delivers the 3-2, and Reddick launches it high and far, to right-center field with a chance and gone. Grand Slam. Insurance runs. 10-5 Astros. And Minute Maid Park erupts with “Woooooo” chants for Reddick.
We are six games in and already the best offense in the league last year picks up right where they left off. With 38 total runs is the 2nd most in the first six meetings trailing only the 2004 squad who had 40 and also started 5-1. Never Settle has never been clearer than it was last night.
*** Stats courtesy of baseball-reference and ESPN and MLB.com***