The season looked lost for Framber Valdez, after breaking his left-ring finger fielding a comebacker in spring training. The left-hander was dubbed with the possibility of missing the entire 2021 season, until he wasn’t. His broken finger was miraculously healed in-time for a May return that consisted of a 72-pitch performance.
Valdez was signed for only $10,000 by the Houston Astros out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. Now, the blossoming lefty is picking up ace status in lieu of Lance McCullers Jr., who is likely to miss the remainder of the postseason.
After a Game 1 performance that ended 2.2 innings into the ballgame, Valdez returned to the mound against the Boston Red Sox in Game 5 on Wednesday night. The hurler set his postseason high in innings pitched (eight), while throwing less than 100 pitches.
Framber Valdez’s Game 5 outing puts him in select postseason company.
Before Wednesday, only six visiting pitchers had ever pitched eight or more innings at Fenway Park; the most recent being in 1998.
Valdez allowed only run on three hits and a walk, while collecting five punch outs. The left-hander revived the Astros’ rotation with only one outing; sending them back to Houston with two chances to clinch the pennant.
As one of the most dominant Dominican-born pitchers on the rise, Valdez can now find his name in the mix of some postseason heroes. His eight-inning performance consisting of only one run has been done seven other times in a postseason game by Dominican-born hurlers:
Johnny Cueto (2015 & 2016)
Roberto Hernández (2007)
Bartolo Colón (1998)
Ramon Martínez (1996)
Juan Guzman (1992)
Jose Rijo (1990)
Valdez is likely done for the remainder of the ALCS, as the Astros travel back to Houston for an off day on Thursday. The ball club returns to action for Game 6 on Friday night at 7:08 p.m.