Prof: Just one game tonight, but it’s a pretty important one. Let’s get our mind right.
Astros 1, Rays 4 (ALDS Game 4) – Prof: AJ Hinch threw Justin Verlander out on short rest. I slightly understand why he’d do that; JV had been lights out all year long, and this game is so important to the Astros, why not dance with the one what brung ya? Yes, Verlander is one of the greatest pitchers in baseball, and he’s been ridiculous all season, including earlier in this series, but the man isn’t getting any younger. The Astros should have maybe put a little trust in Wade Miley or something. It turned out that having JV start maybe wasn’t the smartest decision that Houston made.
Tampa lit him up early and often; Tommy Pham hit a solo dinger, while Travis d’Arnaud and Joey Wendle had RBI knocks as well. Finally Willy Adames got his own home run off Verlander and he finally exited the game, absolutely defeated by his own failure to get Rays out. 3 2/3 innings and he threw 84 pitches. I’m telling you, it just wasn’t good for Houston.
Meanwhile, representing the home dugout at the Trop, a bunch of pitchers y’all never heard of pretty much blanked this red hot Astros team until the eighth inning, when Robinson Chirinos hit a solo homer off Colin Poche (who went to Arkansas for college, #WPS kid). But that was a blip, a momentary lapse in greatness, and the Kevin Cash-led team of underdogs continued to have their way with this team full of Goliaths and your probable AL MVP and Cy Young winners.
And then came Blake Snell.
Is this as dumb a move as Houston trotting out Verlander? Not really. For Tampa, this game is do or die. You bring out your own lights out ace (and reigning CY winner) to extend your playoff chances. You have to throw everything to the wall and see what sticks. So yes, bring out Snell.
Verlander gets the loss, Ryan Yarbrough gets the win (although let’s be honest, the Rays used the whole bag of goodies this game, Yarbrough gets it by default). Snell gets the save.
All the marbles on Thursday!