Here’s what we know for sure: One of these clubs will leave the City of Brotherly Love and head back to Houston with a 3-2 lead. It will either be an Astros team that hopes Justin Verlander can shake off his career-long slump in the World Series as the American League Cy Young hopeful, or a Phillies team that needs to get off of a sudden offensive slump. after a staggering 0 -for-27 against Cristian Javier and three bullpen arms.
“We had a no-hitter earlier in the year in New York against the Mets [on April 29], and we came back the next day and won,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “So, these guys, they have a short memory.”
For all his Hall of Fame-worthy success in his career overall, Verlander has some painful memories of the World Series. He is 0-6 with a 6.07 ERA in eight starts at this point after squandering a 5-0 lead in Game 1 of this Series. That’s the worst ERA of any pitcher with at least 30 innings in the Fall Classic.
“I think a lot of times the execution follows mechanics,” Verlander said. “So, yeah, I found some mechanical stuff that I needed to clean. I’ve been working very hard since then. But there’s no way of knowing how it’s going until you get to the game and see the reaction of the hitters.”
The Phillies will counter with Noah Syndergaard, but they will have their pen ready to pitch before Friday’s off day.
When is the game and how can I watch it?
Game 5, which will air on FOX at 8 pm ET / 7 CT, is scheduled for Thursday.
All games are available in the US on MLB.TV (participating Pay TV provider verification required). Live games are also available in select countries outside the US For full details, click here.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Astros: Verlander (1-0, 7.20 ERA this postseason) will make his fourth start of the postseason and second in the World Series. He was crushed for five runs on six hits and two walks over five innings in the Astros’ Game 1 loss to the Phillies in Houston, unable to hold on to a 5-0 lead.
Phillies: Syndergaard (10-10, 3.94 ERA) will make his fourth postseason appearance, but only his second start. Originally scheduled to pitch in Game 3, Syndergaard was bumped to Game 5 following Monday’s postponement. One of the benefits of that move was getting a day off on Friday after Game 5. That should help a Phillies team that is heavy on its bullpen behind Syndergaard, who is expected to pitch three or four innings only.
What are the starting lines?
Astros: With Verlander on the mound, Martín Maldonado will get the start behind the plate in Game 5. As has been the case throughout the playoffs, the only question beyond that was who starts at designated hitter , who has been a black hole for the Astros in the postseason (5-for-42). Aledmys Díaz is 1-for-22 in the playoffs, so David Henley gets his second World Series start.
Phillies: Not one to panic, Thomson went with this lineup, which he has used against right-handed starters this postseason.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Astros: Despite using three of his four postseason high-leverage pitchers – Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly – in Game 4, manager Dusty Baker should have all three available for Game 5, especially with a day to away on Friday. Abreu threw 15 pitches, Montero threw 10 and Pressly threw 19 on Wednesday. Neither Héctor Neris nor Ryne Stanek appeared in Game 4, so they will be available after several days off.
Phillies: All should be available in Game 5, although Thomson used some of his high-leverage relievers in Game 4. That group includes left-handers José Alvarado and Brad Hand, and shifters to right Andrew Bellatti, David Robertson and Zach Eflin. Bellatti has pitched back-to-back days, though he threw just nine pitches on Wednesday.
“Everybody’s available,” Thomson said after Game 4. “Bellatti would have made it three in a row, but he didn’t [throw] too many plots tonight. So I think everyone would be fine.”
Astros: Houston is healthy.
Phillies: Philadelphia is also healthy going into Game 5, although Game 6 starter Zack Wheeler is suffering from arm fatigue, although the club said he is not injured.
Who’s hot and who’s not?
Astros: McCormick is 4-for-12 with three walks in the World Series, leading the way for the Astros in the Fall Classic. … Gurriel is 5-for-16 and Peña is 5-for-17 with two doubles. … On the flip side, Bregman is 3-for-16 in the World Series, but had a two-run double in Game 4, and Alvarez is 2-for-15 with two RBIs. Díaz (0-for-8) and Trey Mancini (0-for-5) are hitless in the Fall Classic.
Phillies: Philadelphia has not recorded a hit since the sixth inning in Game 3.
Anything else fans might want to know?
• The Astros are 3-0 all-time in Game 5 of the World Series.
• Altuve’s single in Game 4 of the World Series gave him 100 career postseason hits, the sixth most in Major League history behind Yadier Molina (102), Jorge Posada (103), Manny Ramirez (117 ), Bernie Williams (128) and Derek Jeter (200).
• In postseason series with the current 2-3-2 format that are tied after four games, the team playing on the road in Game 5 has gone on to take the series 32 of 57 times (56 per cent). In all best-of-seven series at 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has won the series 45 of 64 times (70 percent).