This is it. Well, maybe. The Astros can become World Series champions for the first time in franchise history with a Game 6 victory, while a Dodgers’ W would prolong the Fall Classic by forcing a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. Game 6 is up next, and features a rematch of Game 2’s starters: Rich Hill for the Dodgers, and Justin Verlander for the Astros. Neither Hill nor Verlander has ever won a World Series — this is Verlander’s third attempt, and Hill’s first.
The bullpen’s are both exhausted and there are some tough decisions to make. Given that, and the nature of Game 6, Hill and Verlander might both be pushed harder than they were in Game 2.
First pitch is at 8:20 p.m. ET, and we’ll be here to live blog that and the rest of them.
As usual, if you want to read from the beginning, scroll down to the “1st inning” header and work your way back up.
FOX comes back from commercial just in time for Brian McCann to hit a long single against Hill, and the Astros have themselves a baserunner. Marwin Gonzalez follows with a double that gets McCann to third, and suddenly things are very interesting in Los Angeles.
Reddick bats now with no outs, and Justin Verlander is up next. The Astros will worry about that when he’s actually up, though, and they know how many outs there are at that time.
Reddick strikes out, which was the ideal scenario outside of somehow a weird double play happening. That brings up Verlander with one out, and he is not bunting, not with the infield in and Brian McCann’s legs on third.
Verlander strikes out as well, which is probably for the best. Low-effort for Verlander, only one out, and here’s George Springer to try to take advantage.
One more homer for Springer, by the way, and he ties the home run record for a single World Series. He won’t get the chance to mash one, though, as he gets the intentional walk to bring up Alex Bregman.
Here comes Dave Roberts to remove Hill from the game already — Brandon Morrow, who was so tired and bad in Game 5 that he apologized for talking his way into making an appearance, comes out with the bases loaded. Maybe he slept for like, 15 hours last night and is rested now.
Let’s recap during the commercial break: Morrow recorded no outs in Game 5, allowed four runs and two homers… and did so on six pitches.
Roberts is playing with fire here, but it works, as Morrow gets an inning-ending groundout, and the score remains 1-0 when it could have been much, much worse.
It’ll be Puig, Pederson, and Forsythe in the bottom of the fifth, and they’ll be facing Verlander, who is at 58 pitches. Puig pounces on the first pitch and gives it a ride, but it’s a long fly out to right.
Man, Dodgers, you need to make Verlander work if you want the pain to stop. Pederson flies out on the third pitch, and it’s now up to Forsythe and his notable discipline to keep this from spiraling further.
Jose Altuve has looked like a tougher out of late, and Hill ends up getting him to ground out here on five pitches — Altuve was only out by about half-a-step, too.
Carlos Correa is now also 0-for-2 after flying out to center, and here comes Yuli Gurriel and his adoring Los Angeles fans. Rich Hill is not moving any faster than he was last time Gurriel was up to bat. He gets him out once more, eliciting cheers again, and that ends the top of the fourth.
By the way, it’s now raining! Not hard, but it is coming down enough that you can see it when a camera besides the center field one is in use.
Here’s Corey Seager to lead off the bottom of the frame against Verlander. He flies out, and then the FOX booth turns the camera to Kate Upton, Verlander’s fiancé, and then say a bunch of things that I didn’t listen to because I was too busy admiring Kate Upton’s dope as heck retro Astros’ jacket. It mutes the old color scheme just enough that you can wear it in public to something besides an Astros’ game where it doesn’t matter how ridiculous your apparel is.
Oh, also Justin Turner struck out, but y’all have to know my feelings about the jacket. And then Cody Bellinger struck out for the second time tonight, so that’s the end of the fourth, and Verlander seems back on track.
It’ll be Josh Reddick, Justin Verlander, and then George Springer and the top of the Astros’ order here in the top of the third. Normally, we’d be thinking, “This is the last time Hill will face any of these hitters tonight,” but the Dodgers are going to push Hill as long as he’ll go. How long that is, well, that’s just something we’ll have to watch and see.
Reddick flies out to center field, and Verlander follows up with a strikeout, Hill’s third of the game. Springer should be a little more of a challenge than the bottom of the order and a pitcher.
And he is! Springer hits his fourth homer of the World Series, and it’s 1-0, Astros. Alex Bregman made an out immediately after that, but, 1-0, Houston.
Austin Barnes steps in to face Verlander, and Rich Hill will follow him. Barnes grounds out, but gets five pitches out of Verlander to do it. Here comes Hill, then the top of the Dodgers’ order for the second time.
Look at Hill out here, making Verlander work! He’s fouling off pitches, and it takes five pitches to sit him down. Verlander is now up to 40 pitches before the third is over, after throwing just seven in the first.
Forsythe lines out, but the Dodgers keep managing to make an appearance by the Astros’ pen more likely with the way they’re handling Verlander.
Yuli Gurriel leads off the top of the second, and let me tell you so there is no confusion: the crowd is not saying “YUUUULI.” Those boos are intense, and they stop long enough to let Rich Hill throw a pitch, and then they immediately resume.
Rich Hill was very unhappy with Yuli Gurriel’s gesture to Yu Darvish in Game 3. Hill stepped off the mound so the fans could boo more.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) November 1, 2017
Then there were cheers for Gurriel! Well, not for him so much as for him popping out foul.
Brian McCann follows that up with a fly out to left, and Rich Hill is doing pretty well to start here: he’s through 1-2/3 on just 20 pitches. Marwin Gonzalez grounds out to end the inning, and Hill is through two.
Justin Verlander is throwing 96, facing Cody Bellinger. Bellinger looked horrific at the start of the World Series, but he’s turned it on off late with extra-base hits — timely extra-base hits, too — and he seems like he’s once again a threat in the middle of this lineup. The Dodgers need that to keep up here.
Instead, Verlander gets Bellinger to swing at a pitch up and in that Bellinger probably should not have swung at. It looks so good coming out of Verlander’s hand, though: it’s not like Bellinger is the first good hitter to fall for that trick.
Hey, Verlander is mortal-ish! Yasiel Puig singles on a liner to center field, and the Dodgers have their first baserunner of Game 6. That brings up Joc Pederson with just the one out. Pederson is having himself a hell of a World Series, batting .364/.462/1.091, a line that includes a dinger against tonight’s Astros’ starter.
Pederson strikes out, but the good news for the Dodgers in this inning so far is that Verlander has now thrown more pitches than Hill despite his enviably efficient first inning. There is more than one route to victory for the Dodgers in Game 6, but pushing Verlander out of the game as early as possible to get to the soft underbelly of the Astros’ bullpen feels like the most effective path.
I can mix some more metaphors and sayings if you want. We’ve got time.
Forsythe fouls out, but not before getting six more pitches out of Verlander. Hill is at 24 pitches, Verlander at 30.
We’re back in Los Angeles for Game 6 — well, Grant Brisbee and Eric Stephen and the two teams competing tonight are, anyway. I’m live blogging from the other side of the country.
Rich Hill will take the mound for the Dodgers, and he won’t be lifted after 60 pitches this time around unless he’s somehow awful over his first 60 pitches. Dave Roberts already said as much before Game 6: the Dodgers know they need to try to get more out of Hill, especially when they need to win tonight to force a Game 7 tomorrow, and their relievers are already gassed.
The first pitch is a ball, but Rich Hill quickly made everyone forget that happened by striking out George Springer on the next three pitches. That brings up Alex Bregman, who won Game 5 with a walkoff in the bottom of the 10th back in Houston.
The World Series has been Bregman’s introduction to the baseball world at large, and he has made quite the first impression. He entered Game 6 batting .273/.320/.591 while playing exceptional defense at third, and he adds to that slash line with a single to give the Astros their first baserunner.
We’re two batters into this game and there hasn’t been a home run yet, what is going on?
Rich Hill gets Jose Altuve swinging, and that’s two outs, both by way of the K. That leaves driving Bregman in up to Carlos Correa, the Astros’ cleanup hitter and shortstop.
Correa has been the most consistent source of power for the Astros this postseason, as he’s slugging .615 across the three series, thanks to five homers and five doubles. Here, though, he just grounds out to third, and Turner tosses it to second to end the inning.
Justin Verlander starts off the bottom of the frame by getting Chris Taylor to make an out, which is not a usual thing for him! Taylor, I mean. He’s been getting leadoff hits, but not this time. Corey Seager doesn’t do any better, as he sees more pitches, but strikes out. Justin Turner finishes things off by popping out on the seventh pitch of the inning, so if you’re wondering why there isn’t more written about the bottom of this frame, well, seven pitches.
Astros vs. Dodgers 2017 live results: Score updates and highlights from World Series Game 6 – SB Nation