If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what is a pitcher worth? 10,000? After all that’s how many US Dollars the Houston Astros signed Cristian Javier for in 2015.
With their season on the line, Javier just captained his second combined no-hitter of the season, this one in Game 4 of the World Series.
With tens of thousands available to chose from, only one word is needed to sum up Javier: historic.
Cristian Javier, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly just completed a 4-pitcher combined no hitter against the hottest lineup on the planet. No amount of hyperbole can sum up the performance.
Unprecedented. Legendary. Unfathomable.
24 hours after the Phillies mashed five baseballs into orbit, the Astros silenced both their lineup and their ballpark. The red-hot Phillies lineup was flummoxed all night, finishing Wednesday with an .081 xBA. They hit one baseball over 100 mph. The Phillies put less balls in play (13) than they had at-bats that ended with a strikeout (14). And of course, Philadelphia finished their night with 0 hits. The Astros suppressed their foes in every possible metric, none more important than runs: 0.
A five-run Houston outburst in the fifth ensured that for the third time in four years, the World Series will be decided at Minute Maid Park. Home-field advantage has been regained after the 5-0 victory. Order has been restored.
As broken down pregame Wednesday, the Astros had the right man on the hill to accomplish this. Justin Verlander will win his third Cy Young award this season. Framber Valdez set the American League consecutive quality starts record. Yet it was their Game 4 starter that was arguably their best arm on the roster.
Javier finished the regular season 11-9 with a 2.54 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 11.7 K/9, a 152 ERA+ and expected numbers that jump off the page: 98th percentile in expected batting average, 96th in expected ERA/wOBA, 95th in expected slugging, 94th in strikeout rate and 82nd in whiff rate. He led the MLB with a .170 batting average against. And firmly entrenched in the “that must be too good to be true” category, Javier has only allowed one run dating back to September 8th. Had he began the season in the rotation rather than bullpen, Javier would have a legitimate Cy Young case.
His wipeout combination of fastball and slider set up to punish the Phillies, and punish them he did, brutalizing Philadelphia over the course of his six innings. Javier racked up 9 strikeouts on the night, walking two, before giving way to Bryan Abreu.
Abreu continued his playoff dominance, striking out the side in the 7th. He turned it over to Montero in the eighth. Montero made quick work of the first two batters he faced, but Jean Segura laced the ball into right for the only near hit of the night (.910 xBA). Gold Glove winner Kyle Tucker plucked the line drive out of the air for the third and final out. Ryan Pressly handled the ninth, working around a walk to Kyle Schwarber to complete the no-no.
Now knotted at 2-2, the 2022 World Series is anybody’s ballgame. Tonight, however, was not.
Tonight belonged strictly to Cristian Javier. We’ll see y’all tomorrow. But for now, it’s Bedtime at the Bank.