The Astros came back from down 4-0 to win Game 5 of the World Series, 13-12, in 10 innings. That not only put them ahead in the Fall Classic once more, but it also left them just one victory shy of winning the whole thing: the World Series returns to Los Angeles for Game 6 Tuesday, where the Dodgers are playing to force a Game 7, while the Astros are playing to win their first-ever World Series championship.
It's a rematch of Game 2, with Rich Hill taking the mound in Los Angeles for the Dodgers, and Justin Verlander trying to win it all for the Astros. Just like Houston, this would be Verlander's first World Series championship ever, too: he pitched in the 2006 World Series, as well as 2012's, but the Tigers lost both of those. Hill hasn't won, either, with the closest he's come before this either last year's NLCS defeat to the Cubs, or leaving the Red Sox as a free agent a year before they won again in 2013.
Hill was lifted after just 60 pitches last time out, as the Dodgers have been reliably avoiding having most of their starters face the lineup a third time through. With Los Angeles' bullpen clearly gassed, though, to the point that Brandon Morrow had a horrific Game 5 and Kenley Jansen has now given up runs in three of his World Series appearances, Dave Roberts will want to push Hill a little bit more than he has, especially if he's rolling like he was in Game 2.
The Astros, similarly, are going to need Verlander to have himself a start, as their bullpen has nothing left to offer. Chris Devenski has been awful, and AJ Hinch has chosen to go with him over other relief options on the roster like Francisco Liriano and closer Ken Giles at times, which should give you a sense of how Houston feels about those two. Joe Musgrove and Will Harris haven't been much better. Brad Peacock has thrown 92 pitches in relief in the last four days, and the second of those outings in Game 5 was awful. Lance McCullers might be available if Houston truly thinks they can end this Tuesday, but they better if he does pitch, because he's the likely Game 7 starter.
Charlie Morton might be available in relief playing the role McCullers and Peacock have to this point, as he threw just 76 pitches in Game 4 and won't have to pitch again until 2018 regardless of whether this goes well for Houston or not. Pitching on two days rest might seem a little ridiculous, but Morton has pitched four times this postseason, with pitch totals of 83, 72, 54, and 76. He might be the most-rested and most effective option Houston has to relieve Verlander, whether it's in the fifth or the seventh or the ninth inning of Game 6.
- Charlotte Wilder wrote all about Game 5 ... because she fell asleep during it and is jealous of everyone who got to see it. It's sports FOMO, and it is making Charlotte upset.
- If the baseballs really are juiced or slicker (they are) then the Dodgers have more reason to be upset about what that means than the Astros do.
- Here are 10 stats that explain the Astros' dinger-centric comeback in Game 5.
- The Astros and Dodgers broke baseball into a million pieces, both literally and figuratively.
- By the way, per the earlier discussion about terrible bullpens, both Houston's and Los Angeles' have been wretched in this series.
- Shea Serrano wasn't a baseball fan before the World Series, but the Ringer's columnist is all-in after watching the first five games of the Fall Classic.
- Game 5 was apparently all about Degrassi.
- Here are all seven of the homers from Game 5, ranked.
- The Marlins will reportedly try to trade Giancarlo Stanton, Martin Prado, and Dee Gordon.
- Gabe Kapler was offiically hired by the Phillies, and he's unlike any other manager in team history, writes The Good Phight.
- The Nationals also made the hiring of Dave Martinez official, and here are Federal Baseball's five questions for the new manager.