It's October, and that means only one thing--the Astros are playing for a pennant. After defeating the Minnesota Twins 3-2 in Game 4, the Astros have advanced to a seventh consecutive ALCS.
Games 1-3 were offensive barrages, with the winners of each game stringing together a ton of fire power at the plate.
Game 4 was a different story. José Urquidy toed the rubber for the Astros while Joe Ryan stepped on the hill for the Twins. Ryan was expected to go one time through the order while Urquidy was on a
Urquidy surrendered a first inning home run to Royce Lewis before settling in. Joe Ryan gave up a solo shot to Michael Brantley that effectively ended his night.
Ryan finished only two innings before turning it over to the Twins bullpen. In the top of the 4th, the Astros got to their bullpen.
Caleb Thielbar was brought on to navigate the Astros pocket of lefties in Alvarez, Tucker and Brantley.
Jose Abreu's continued redemption powered Astros to another ALCS berth
The Twins forgot about the lone righty in that grouping, José Abreu. After a Yordan Alvarez leadoff single and Kyle Tucker strikeout, Abreu stepped into the box with one out. One night after slugging two home runs, Abreu connected again as he blasted a 424-foot opposite field shot off of the upper deck railing in right-center.
The three runs were all Houston would need. Urquidy was nails, and picked up the win after completing 5.2 innings and surrendering only two runs.
Once again the three-headed-monster of Hector Neris, Bryan Abreu, and Ryan Pressly were untouchable. The three recorded the final 10 outs, walking one and allowing no hits. Pressly's save was the 13th of his career. He's a perfect 13 for 13 in playoff save chances.
Fittingly, the game ended with Carlos Correa on deck.
The Astros are now staring down their division rival Rangers with a fifth pennant in seven seasons on the line. Houston dominated the head-to-head series in the regular season, which was one of the key reasons they will have home field advantage in the series.
The Astros will be able to reset their rotation, with Justin Verlander starting Game 1 and Framber Valdez in Game 2. The Rangers can mash, but if this Cristian Javier and José Urquidy show up, the Astros may very well be playing for a third World Series title in seven seasons.