Greinke’s brilliant start for the Astros in Game 7 of the World Series is reminiscent of Backe’s start in 2005.
Through the sting of losing Game Seven of the World Series, there is one bright spot Astros fans will always remember. Zack Greinke was absolutely brilliant, carving up the Nationals hitters through his first six innings. His start was reminiscent of the one Brandon Backe made in Game Four of the 2005 World Series.
Backe, the Galveston native, will forever be remembered for his tremendous effort in the final game of the Astros’ first trip to the fall classic. With the team facing a 3-0 deficit, he took the mound at Minute Maid Park and produced an absolute gem.
Backe threw seven scoreless innings against the White Sox, at one point striking out five consecutive hitters between the fourth and fifth innings. He finished with seven strikeouts and allowed five hits and no walks.
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While Backe’s final pitching line was pristine, Greinke didn’t quite have the same luck. He gave up a solo homer with one out in the seventh inning and was pulled after issuing a walk. But Will Harris gave up an improbable home run to the next hitter, putting the Nationals ahead for good.
Backe left his start with the game scoreless, but the bullpen couldn’t hold it. Brad Lidge gave up a run in the eighth inning that proved to be the only run of the game, as the Astros offense couldn’t get anything going.
Some Similarities, Some Differences
Looking at the two, they both put up outstanding efforts with the team facing elimination. Both of their starts were lost by the bullpen, and the offense had difficulty giving them cushion. But they’ll both be remembered by fans forever.
Interestingly, Greinke is the much more accomplished pitcher. He’s already got a borderline Hall of Fame case and could continue to bolster it with a few more good seasons. He was the big trade deadline acquisition intended to put the Astros over the top.
Backe, on the other hand, was the local product, and this start was one of two legendary outings he gave the team, with the other being his gem in the 2004 NLCS. His career 5.23 ERA in the regular season is nothing special, and he continued to battle injuries in the ensuing seasons. But he secured his place in Astros lore with this outing.
Though the ending of those games were not what the team wanted (I still say Orlando Palmeiro was safe), these two pitchers gave fans something to remember. They left it all on the field, and we couldn’t have asked for anything more.