After dominating the Rangers in Game 4, the Astros have regained momentum in the ALCS. The Astros bats awakened, scoring 10 runs on 11 hits and seven walks en route to tying the series at two games a piece.
Houston wasted no time bludgeoning Andrew Heaney, tagging the Rangers starter for three runs in the first, before piling on seven more runs on the Rangers shaky bullpen.
Yordan Alvarez drove in three more runs on two hits from the cleanup spot, José Abreu drove in three on a titanic, 438 foot blast to blow the game open, Chas McCormick went deep for the first time this postseason, Jose Altuve picked up three hits (two doubles), and Mauricio Dubón picked up two hits in the two-hole.
As alluded to yesterday, Dusty Baker was subscribing to the ole "hot hand" adage, dropping Kyle Tucker in the lineup and moving Dubón into the two hole due to a postseason sample size.
Baker has done the same tonight, deciding to run back the same lineup for the first time all series.
With Justin Verlander on the hill for the swing game in the series, here is how the Astros will look to back him up against Jordan Montgomery:
Houston Astros lineup for ALCS Game 5 (October 20, 2023)
The same players made up the staring lineup against Montgomery in Game 1 of the ALCS, but the order was vastly different. Altuve led off the game, but Alex Bregman was in the two-hole, Yordan Alvarez batted third, Abreu fourth, Kyle Tucker hit fifth, Chas batted sixth, one spot ahead of Mauricio Dubón.
The eighth and ninth spots are the same in Jeremy Peña and Martín Maldonado.
Montgomery flummoxed the Astros over 6.1 shutout innings in Game 1. We'll see if this lineup is the key to solving the Montgomery puzzle.