2022-11-04 · 3 min read · MLB/Baseball
Houston Astros Chrstian Javier

Al Bello/Getty Images | Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports

Sixty-six years removed from Don Larsen’s perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, Christian Javier took the mound for Houston in Philadelphia. Philadelphia, riding the high of five home runs the night before, would be no easy task - Philly fans, in a sold-out ballpark in Philly, with endearingly obnoxious energy that one should expect during a playoff atmosphere in Pennsylvania.
To go down 3-1 would be shattering, and with that in mind, the Houston Astros - led by Chrstian Javier - did something that’s only happened once before. For the first time since 1956, a no-hitter was thrown. Six hitless from Javier, then one inning each from Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly - twenty-seven outs, flummoxing Phillie after Phillie. A dominating performance, and one that could very easily tilt the balance of power in the series.
A 5-0 win, with all five Houston runs being scored in the top of the fifth off of a struggling Aaron Nola and an equally underwhelming Jose Alvarado. A bases-loaded hit by pitch, two-run double, sacrifice fly, and RBI single were all that the Astros needed. Philadelphia’s bullpen only allowed one hit over the last four innings, but it was all for naught. Four games in, and the series is tied at two apiece.
“Is a combined no-hitter as meaningful as a one-pitcher no-hitter, you may ask?” Well, I dunno. I don’t really care, nor does Kyle Schwarber; “I don’t give a s—.” Few words, and even fewer hits.
The series is now a three-gamer, with Houston holding home-field advantage. One more game in Philly, and then Game 6 (and 7, if need be) will be played at Minute Maid Park. A World Series Championship will be awarded in Texas, with tonight being the final baseball game played in Philly regardless.
Justin Verlander is set to square off against Noah Syndergaard, neither of which have excelled in this postseason. One more bad start from Verlander, and his reputation may firmly be placed on the side of…cracking under pressure, to say the least. After tonight’s Game 5, there will be an off-day on Friday for teams to rest up before the series resumes this weekend - a pivotal day of rest for what will be an all-hands-on-deck mentality for both pitching staffs.
It should be noted that, in the infamous day-after-clinching game for Philadelphia at the end of the regular season, it was Justin Verlander who threw five innings of ten-strikeout ball en route to a 10-0 rout against the Phils’. Even with his shaky playoff performances, it would certainly be quite the sight if he kept it going during the biggest game of Houston’s season.
If the Phillies do win the World Series, one lucky Blue Jay will also be getting a ring - that’s right, he who must have incriminating evidence on Toronto ownership since there’s no chance he provides a useful skill set, Bradley Zimmer, would get a ring. At least Vladdy won a Gold Glove? Right?
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By: Gus Cousins


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