In the moment where it seems the Houston Astros were ready to be delivered their last rites, they found a way to keep hope alive.
Dusty Baker’s cool resolve was tested by Boston’s offense but he once again made sure his team’s confidence remained intact. The top of Dusty’s lineup — which had begun hibernating for the winter in the first three games of the series — woke up with a vengeance in Game 4 returning as the catalyst to their 9-2 win at Fenway Park.
Dusty Baker has spent the last 14 1/2 innings outmaneuvering Alex Cora inside Fenway Park. #Astros
Brantley swatted two more hits and the Astros offense kept pounding on the Red Sox pitching again in Game 5, leaving them staggered and heading back to Houston after a 9-1 victory.
Another Pennant For Dusty, Stros ?
The Astros are now in position to clinch their second pennant in three years on Friday at Minute Maid Park.
“That [game four] was a huge win,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “To tie that up, to guarantee us to go back home and have some more games at home.”
The Fabulous Baker Boys have erupted for 16 runs and 23 hits off a Boston staff that couldn’t get the final out of an inning for the last 10 in the bean. Houston’s 36 two-out runs were the most by a team through eight games in a single postseason.Fenway Park had been a house of horrors for the Astros until Tuesday night’s historic rally, but like their manager, they keep fighting back.
“I’m just glad that we didn’t quit,” Baker said. “Just a great job overall by the whole team.”
No matter how Dusty Baker plays things behind the mask of cool the Houston Astros won’t beat the Boston Red Sox without the bat of MLBbro Michael Brantley AKA “The Professional.”
Michael Brantley Slump
Brantley’s picked the wrong nights to put his bat on ice — Games 2 and 3 of the American League Championship Series.
His record tying 15-game postseason hit streak came to an end as the Boston Red Sox pounded the Astros 9-5 and evened the series heading back to the bean.
One of the AL’s most prolific offensive players was a bystander in the batter’s box Saturday finishing 0-for-4 in an early evening matchup where those south Texas batting eyes were smiling on something other than the Astros.
They were done in by two historic grand slams in the first inning from J.D. Martinez and in the second inning from Rafael Devers.
Once down 8-0 Houston never quit though. They pecked away at Boston’s lead but could never get a crucial hit to put any real pressure on the Red Sox.
Brantley had a chance to deliver in fifth inning with two runners on base and two outs.
However, the at bat ended in a whimper when he grounded to second off Nathan Eovaldy to kill the rally which deflated a crowd whose energy had finally returned following the grand slams of the first two innings.
Traditionally Eovaldi and game one starter Chris Sale had been Brantley’s kryptonite. Coming into the 2021 ALCS, he was a combined 10-for-51 lifetime against the top two starters for Boston.
During his sizzling postseason run Brantley had 23 hits in 64 at-bats, with two doubles, three home runs, and 13 runs RBI.
He had previously hit safely in every playoff game he’d played in for the Astros. Brantley, was not only driving in runs, he scored eight times.
Blitzed In Game 3
Heading to Boston, they hoped things would change. Brantley went 1-for-3, but the game got out of hand early as Boston took a 9-0 lead by the third inning, en route to an 12-3 Red Sox win.
Houston wasn’t able to recover from that early death blow and the heart of the AL’s top offense continues to struggle.
Up To Dusty
Baker will have to find the tonic that will jump start the top of his lineup because the Astros can’t afford Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Brantley to remain in a slumber when they have been catalysts to their prodigious attack all season.
With Boston up 2-1, the ALCS remains up for grabs and the Astros are due for some big blasts of their own.
Newly acquired outfielder Delino Deshields Jr. is being reunited with his father who is the first base coach for the Cincinnati Reds after being traded from Boston.
There will be a family reunion held in Ohio soon for the Deshields family as both senior and junior are now members of the Cincinnati Reds organization after the Red Sox traded Deshields for cash considerations Tuesday.
“I’m excited, nervous, proud- the whole gamut,” said Deshields Sr. when asked about the new reality where he is now his son’s first base coach.
Deshields Sr. also known as “Bop” played 13 seasons in the Majors with five different teams. In his Major League debut, Deshields became one of what is now 12 players to record four hits. For his career he hit .268 with and 463 stolen bases.
Delino’s sister Diamond may be the best athlete in the family. She was the third overall pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft and was named to the All-Star game in 2019 where she also won the Skills Challenge.
When it comes to pure speed, there is a short list of players in any sport who may be able to keep up with Delino Deshields Jr. Deshields was the eighth overall selection by the Houston Astros in the 2010 draft.
His time in H-Town was summed up by him getting hit in the face with a 90MPH fastball in April of 2014. He was then selected by the Texas Rangers after the 2014 Winter Meetings in the Rule 5 Draft and was on the Opening Day roster to begin the year.
OH MY 😮
Delino DeShields Jr. with one of the best plays of the YEAR for a CF!
During his time patrolling center field in Arlington, Deshields was constantly making great catch after great catch. His speed allows him to turn plays nobody would ever make into web gems.
In December of 2019, Deshields was traded to the Cleveland Guardians in a deal that sent Cory Klueber back to Texas. This was the last time we saw him in the Big Leagues as in just 37 games that year Deshields hit .252 with no home runs, seven RBI and three doubles.
Before the 2021 season, Deshields signed a Minor League contract to return to the Rangers but would not end up making the 40-man roster as he was sent to Triple A Round Rock for 66 games where he stole 16 bases and posted a batting average of .263 before he was again traded at the beginning of August, this time to the Boston Red Sox.
In Triple A this season Deshields has been successful on over 87 percent of his stolen base attempts and has a batting average of .252 with a .385 on base percentage.
Deshields was eligible to be traded after the July 31st trade deadline because he was not on the Red Sox 40-man roster and played this season on a minor league deal. He will be sent to the Reds Triple A affiliate, the Louisville Bats but with Major League rosters expanding to 40 players in September, Deshields should have a spot on the team for their playoff run.
The speed factor Deshields adds to the roster could play a major role in the Reds winning or losing the one game wild card match they are fighting to play in. The Reds rank dead last out of 30 Major League teams with only 27 stolen bases this year, and they trail the next team by six. Delino was 21-24 when stealing bases this season.
That extra base or even just a few steps can be the difference in whether or not we get to see the 2021 version of the Big Red Machine late in October.
Tuesday night marked the return of Toronto Blue Jays high-priced outfielder George Springer. As planned, Springer played five innings out at center field and went hitless in four tries at the lead-off spot with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.
Check out the new guy right at the top of our lineup tonight. Welcome the Herd on an MLB rehab assignment George Springer! pic.twitter.com/ApmKvw7BOY
Activating the nitrous boost out the box brought a sigh of relief for both the Blue Jays execs and Springer as doubts usually loom once a player comes back from a long injury designation.
His return marked the second time for Springer after missing the first month of the season due to right quad and oblique injuries. His first attempt happened in late April/early May, where he played in four games as the designated hitter before the Bluebirds placed their million-dollar man on the injury list.
Springer hit three times out of 15 attempts in those four games with three RBI, two bases on balls, and two home runs.
Can you imagine adding a bat of this magnitude back in the lineup for the already stacked Blue Jays, who currently have a top-three offense in baseball? They recently had eight homers in a single game vs. the Boston Red Sox, the most ever by an opposing team at Fenway Park.
When healthy, Springer is a monster. Adding him to an already stacked Toronto offense will be a game-changer.
In his final two seasons with the Houston Astros during the 2019-2020 seasons, he combined to hit .284/376/.576 for 133 runs, 128 RBI, and 53 home runs in just 173 games.
Those numbers were the reason the 31-year-old three-time All-Star was the Blue Jays’ number one target during free agency for the former World Series MVP, who went on to sign a six-year, $150 million contract this past winter.
Springer’s time in the minors is unknown, as the Blue Jays want to protect their prized acquisition and have him return to centerfield for their centralized location in Buffalo as soon as possible.
Blue Jays analyst for SportsCenter Scott Mitchell tweeted a quote from manager Charlie Montoyo who said, “It could take one game, it could take five, it could take 10. We are going to communicate with him every day to see how he feels.”
George Springer starts rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Buffalo in Rochester.
Montoyo on timeline: “It could take one game, it could take five, it could take 10. We’re going to communicate with him every day to see how he feels.”#BlueJays
Coincidentally, the destination between Triple-A Rochester, New Jersey, and Sahlen Field, where the Blue Jays play, is only a 75-minute drive, so his call to the show should be in a scintilla of a second.
Look for Springer to get back in game shape, as his Bisons take on the Redwings, including Tuesday night in a six consecutive game battle.