With a raucous southside crowd ready to erupt when the game appeared to be in jeopardy, Dusty Baker’s relievers finally rewarded their manager’s confidence with a lights out performance in what proved to be the finale of the ALDS.
The Astros shutout the White Sox over the last five innings as the offense relentlessly pounded on anyone who toed the rubber wearing black and white. A quintet of relievers held Chicago scoreless down the stretch to preserve the victory.
Baker’s magic in the division series continued as the Houston Astros returned to the American League for the fifth consecutive season.
The Fabulous Baker boys sent the Chicago White Sox home for the winter with a 10-1 victory as they get set to face the Boston Red Sox for the right to advance to the 2021 World Series.
Left fielder Michael Brantley, an MLB bro in his own right, drove in two runs in this series clinching victory.
His RBI singles in the sixth and eighth innings were two blows that led them to pop the corks on the champagne bottles before heading to the next round.
Earlier this game, Michael Brantley extended his #Postseason hitting streak to 15 games.
— Houston Astros (@astros) October 12, 2021
This marks Houston’s second consecutive trip to ALCS under Baker’s ageless magic that continues to resonate with the millennial clubhouse the baby boomer manager oversees.
Baker replaced A.J. Hinch, who is now manager of the Detroit Tigers after he was fired in the fallout from the Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal.
It also resulted in a one-year ban for Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora who will be in the other dugout when the series opens on Friday.
Baker’s cool was tested after there had been accusations made the Astros were back to stealing signs and tipping off players which they had previously done to win the only world championship in franchise history.
Chicago reliever Ryan Tepera floated a notion Sunday night that Houston was stealing signs in the first two games.
However, he deftly navigated through that potential controversy with a little push back of his own.
“We’ve been constantly bombarded by negatives, especially on the road,” Baker said. “But these guys, they come to play and they love each other.”
After Gavin Sheets went deep to center field for a home run that put the White Sox on top in the bottom of the second inning it appeared that the momentum of the series had shifted altogether.
In an era where the analytics may have suggested otherwise, Baker made the right call to pull Lance McCullers, Jr. who made only one mistake to Sheets that yielded Chicago’s final run of the season.