Here’s what we know for sure: One of these clubs will leave the City of Brotherly Love and return to Houston with a 3-2 lead. It will either be an Astros team hoping Justin Verlander can shake off his career-long World Series slump and pitch like an American League Cy Young, or a Phillies team needing to recover from a sudden offensive slump after a shocking 0. For -27 against Christian Javier and three bullpen arms.
“We didn’t hit against the Mets earlier this year in New York [on April 29], we came back the next day and won,” Phillies manager Rob Thompson said. “So for these people, they have a short memory.”
For all his Hall of Fame-worthy success in his career, Verlander has some painful World Series memories. He is 0-6 with a 6.07 ERA in eight starts during this stretch after going 5-0 in Game 1 of the series. That’s the worst stretch of any pitcher with at least 30 innings in the Fall Classic.
“I think the execution follows the mechanics,” Verlander said. “So, yeah, I found some mechanical stuff that needed cleaning. Since then I have been working hard. But there’s no way to know how it goes until you get into the game and see the reactions to the hits. “
The Phillies will face Noah Syndergaard, but will have their bullpen ready to pitch before Friday’s off day.
When is the game and how can I watch it?
Game 5 is scheduled for Thursday, airing at 8pm ET/7 CT on FOX.
All games are available on MLB.TV in the US (participating pay TV provider authentication required). Live games are also available in select countries outside the US For full details, click here.
Who are the initiates?
Astros: Verlander (1-0, 7.20 ERA this postseason) will make his fourth start of the season and second in the World Series. He gave up five runs on six hits and two walks in five innings, unable to hold on to a 5-0 lead in the Astros’ Game 1 loss to the Phillies in Houston.
Phyllis: Syndergaard (10-10, 3.94 ERA) will make his fourth appearance in the postseason, but only his second start. Originally scheduled to pitch Game 3, Syndergaard jumped to Game 5 following Monday’s postponement. One benefit of that move is having an off-day on the Friday after Game 5. That would help the Phillies lean heavily into the bullpen behind Syndergaard, who is expected to pitch only three to four innings.
What are the starting lineups?
Astros: Along with Verlander, Martin Maldonado will get the start in Game 5. As has been the case throughout the playoffs, the only question beyond that is who will start at designated hitter, which has become a black hole for the Astros. Postseason (5-for-42). Aledmys Diaz is 1-for-22 in the playoffs, so David Henley gets his second World Series start.
Phyllis: Not one to panic, Thompson went with this lineup and used it against right-handed starters this season.
How will bullpens line up after the starter?
Astros: Although three of the four major postseason high-leverage pitchers — Brian Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressley — were used in Game 4, manager Dusty Baker should have all three available for Game 5, especially on a Friday. Abreu threw 15 pitches, Montero 10 and Pressley 19. Neither Hector Neris nor Ryne Stanek appeared in Game 4, so they will be available after multiple days off.
Phyllis: Thompson used some of his high-leverage relievers in Game 4, but all should be available in Game 5. That group includes left-handers Jose Alvarado and Brad Hand and right-handers Andrew Bellatti, David Robertson and Zach Eflin. Despite throwing just nine pitches Wednesday, Bellatti is having a rough day.
“Everybody’s available,” Thompson said after Game 4. “Bellatti could have made it three in a row, but he didn’t [throw] Too many pitches tonight. So I think everyone will be fine. “
Astros: Houston is healthy.
Phyllis: Philadelphia also enters Game 5 healthy, although Game 6 starter Zach Wheeler is suffering from arm fatigue, but 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 was 5-for-16 and Pena was 5-for-17 with two doubles. … Bregman, on the other hand, is 3-for-16 in the World Series, but he had a two-run double in Game 4, and Alvarez is 2-for-15 with two RBIs. Diaz (0-for-8) and Trey Mancini (0-for-5) were hitless in the Fall Classic.
Phyllis: Philadelphia hasn’t recorded a hit since the sixth inning in Game 3.
Anything else fans might want to know?
• The Astros are 3-0 in Game 5 of the World Series.
• Altuo’s single in Game 4 of the World Series gave him 100 career hits, the sixth-most in major league history behind Yadier Molina (102), Jorge Posada (103), Manny Ramirez (117) and Bernie Williams (128). Derek Jeter (200).
• In postseason series in the current 2-3-2 format, which is tied after four games, the team playing on the road in Game 5 has won the series 32 of 57 times (56 percent). With all best-of-seven series tied 2-2, the Game 5 winner has won 45 times in the series 64 times (70 percent).