On Tuesday, the Astros became the 39th team in postseason history to be caught, 3-0, in a best seven series. The history they face is frightening, to say the least. Now, Houston is on the verge of achieving something special. The Astros’ 7-4 victory over the Rays on Friday night at
On Tuesday, the Astros became the 39th team in postseason history to be caught, 3-0, in a best seven series. The history they face is frightening, to say the least.
Now, Houston is on the verge of achieving something special. The Astros’ 7-4 victory over the Rays on Friday night in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series forced a win of a take 7 Game on Saturday at Petco Park. The water is turned on.
• ALCS presented by GEICO, Game 7: 8:30 pm ET on TBS
Of the 39 teams facing a 3-0 hole, the manager of Dusty Baker̵7;s Astros club is only ninth to survive to see a Game 5 and a fourth to reach Game 6. After the win on Friday, Houston in the 2004 Red Sox as the lone teams to arrive in Game 7 after dropping the first three games of a series. Boston finished the job with a 10-3 victory over the Yankees in the final ALCS, before finally sweeping the Cardinals in the World Series.
It remains to be seen if the Astros can continue to follow that path. So far, here are 15 key facts and figures, a look back at Game 6 of ALCS and ahead of Game 7
1. Astros starter
2. Eight of Valdez’s nine strikes came to his curveball, the second most curveball strikeout of a pitcher in a posteason game during pitch-tracking (since 2008), just behind nine Adam Wainwright in Game 1 of the 2012 National League Division Series.
3. Part of how Valdez got a lot of curveball strikeouts? Lots of swings and misses on the pitch. He got 15 whiffs on his curve, a career best for any game, the most by a pitcher in a game in 2020 (regular or posteason) and the most by a pitcher in a game in the posteason season of pitch-tracking.
Ray’s bullpen finally broke
4. Through the first 12 games of Tampa Bay this posteason, the relegation manager Kevin Cash teamed up to inherit 20 runners and strand them all. That was the longest longest tire to start a posteason, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
• Every Game 7 in the history of NLCS and ALCS
That ended in the fifth inning of Game 6, when Diego Castillo relieved starter Blake Snell with two and no outs and allowed the same running points in a single George Springer, part of a four-run run. frame put Houston ahead, 4-1.
5. Castillo not only allowed Snell’s two runners to score, but then charged him with two own runs (one earned) in one inning. This is the first time Castillo has allowed himself to run in his postseason career. Entering Friday, Castillo was just one of eight pitchers to hold an opposition point in each of his first 10 appearances in a posteason career while throwing at least 13 entries within that span.
6. The Rays unable to make a lead stand is an unusual vision for 2020. Entering the day, Tampa Bay is 5-0 this posteason ahead of scoring after reaching an MLB-best 25-6 (.806) in those games during the regular season.
Pass Correa, again
8. The only players with more career postseason RBI than Correa are Bernie Williams (80), Manny Ramirez (78), David Justice (63), Derek Jeter (61), David Ortiz (61) and Albert Pujols (54), along with Pujols is the only active player in that team.
9. Correa benefited from having many opportunities (62 games in the posteason), but he was only 26 years old. No other player in postseason history has collected more than 35 RBI before becoming 27.
On the line Saturday
10. Starting with seven starts in Game 7 will put former Astros teammates Charlie Morton (now Rays) and Lance McCullers Jr. against each other. They’re both familiar with win-take-all games – in fact, they each built in both Game 7 of the ALCS and Game 7 of the World Series in 2017 for Houston. They will be the first pair of players in postseason history to stand in the same game that won everyone as teammates and then start against each other in a win-take-all game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
11. The Astros (.483) have a regular-season winning percentage of 184 points lower than the Rays’ (.667). That was the second biggest winning-percentage difference in any postseason series, just behind the 2020 NL Wild Card Series between the Dodgers (.717) and the Brewers (.483). This means it will be the biggest upset by winning percentage in a postseason series of all time. The current record is a 147-point difference between the White Sox (.616) and Cubs (.763) when the South Siders won the 1906 World Series.
The Astros have already had two 117-point differential lifts in the winning percentage, with the Twins and A both winning a .600 clip this year. Those are currently tied for the third largest such strikes in a series in postseason history.
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12. After winning Game 5 of ALDS this year, the Rays will try to be the 13th team in postseason history to win multiple wins in all games in the same posteason. The Nationals set a record in the 2019 postseason, winning three take-all games, finishing Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros. Overall, Tampa Bay is 4-2 in franchise history in win-take-all games, and it will play two in a posteason for the second consecutive year. (ALDS lost Game 5 in 2019, against Houston.)
13. The Astros are 5-5 in franchise history in win-take-all posteason games. They lost their last (Game 7 of the 2019 World Series) after winning each of their previous three. The last time Houston won a take-all game was Game 5 of the ALDS in 2019, against Tampa Bay.
14. The management of the Astros is familiar with these types of games. This will be Baker’s ninth career-to-take-all game as a manager, the most of all time, breaking the tie with Bobby Cox. Baker’s teams are 2-6 in the previous eight, with losses in each of the previous five. The last time a Baker-led team won a take-all game was the Cubs in Game 5 of the NLDS in 2003, against the Braves.
15. The Rays lost four consecutive games just once in 2020, and that was ahead of the regular season, when they fell five in a row – two in Atlanta, three in Baltimore – from July 29-Aug . 2.
Sarah Langs is a reporter / editor for New York-based MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SlangsOnSports.
Andrew Simon is a researcher for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.