The Astros have switched the momentum, tying up the World Series at two games apiece as Alex Bregman flexes his muscles in Astros victory over the Nationals.
Game 4 of the World Series was full of intrigue, as the Astros aimed to shift the advantage to their side in this best-of-seven battle with the Nationals. Will rookie Jose Urquidy stand up to the pressure of his first World Series start? Will Alex Bregman show up in this World Series? Will their bats continue to rise out of the postseason slump? The answers were yes, yes, and yes.
Jose Urquidy was asked to fill a tall order, start a crucial Game 4 of a World Series with the Astros down two games to one. A rookie pitcher with only nine Major League games in his career going up against Patrick Corbin, a seven-year veteran, and two-time All-Star. It certainly looks like a mismatch in the favor of the Nationals.
Well, Urquidy answered the call with a stellar performance. He pitched five scoreless innings, only allowing two Nationals to reach base while striking out four. Urquidy did everything asked of him and more. So if he was pitching that well, why take him out of the ballgame after just 67 pitches?
That was a dilemma that AJ Hinch had to deal with during the game and also raised some questions that he had to answer to the press after the game.
"“I battled with that decision,” Hinch said. “Because going into the game, you kind of put in your mind, ‘Go as long as he can as long as he’s good.’ I didn’t want to get too greedy with him. The other thing in the back of my mind is how long a series can get and how we might need him again back in Houston.” via Candler Rome of the Houston Chronicle"
I would imagine the Astros bats also helped put Urquidy’s mind at ease. They put two runs on the board before he even took to the mound, courtesy of run-scoring singles by Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel. They would pad their lead in the fourth inning with a two-run homer by Robinson Chirinos, his second straight game with a home run.
Then in the sixth, Josh James comes in for relief of Urquidy and promptly walks two of the first three batters he faced, raising the question further on Hinch’s decision to pull Urquidy so quickly. But, as he has done so often, Will Harris comes in to save the day keeping the damage to just one run.
The Astros put the game out of reach in the seventh when Kyle Tucker started out the inning with a walk and George Springer followed that up with a single. With two on and one out the Nationals decide to go to Fernando Rodney to face the middle of the order. Michael Brantley greets Rodney with a single, loading up the bases for, guess who, Alex Bregman.
Yes, the same Bregman that Rodney had intentionally walked Brantley to get to, with the bases loaded the night before. The result would be very different this time around with Bregman getting his revenge, knocking a grand-slam home run, putting the Astros up 8-1 which would end up being the final score.
Things have turned around quite nicely for the Astros. The bats have come alive and they’re getting the clutch hits with runners in scoring position, something they haven’t really been able to do this postseason. The World Series is now tied at two games each, Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander are next up in the rotation, and two of the next three games are in Houston. Advantage Astros? I’d certainly think so.