Aroldis Chapman got a one-pitch out against Alex Bregman in the bottom of the eighth inning. It’s easy to make too much about momentum, substituting your own confirmation bias in for actual analysis, but that felt like a big deal. You’re used to watching Chapman throwing a gazillion pitches as the bases fill up and he either perseveres or collapses. A one-pitch out? Is that even allowed?
Then Chapman fought through a three-ball count to Kyle Tucker, making a perfect corner pitch to get the third strike and getting a manageable ground ball for the second out. More momentum. Can Chapman be stopped?
Then Yordan Alvarez hit one to the moon, which chased Chapman from the game. The chaos is still with the eternally mercurial Rangers reliever, don’t you worry.
With the Astros within one run, Bruce Bochy went to José Leclerc, hoping for a four-out save.
He got drama instead. Leclerc walked José Abreu, then walked Michael Brantley on four pitches. At one point, he’d thrown nine straight balls.
Momentum? I know what you think it means, sonny. To me, it’s just a made up word. A writer’s word, so fellas like myself can pound on a keyboard and have a job.
Chas McCormick grounded out three pitches later, ending the threat. Josh Jung juggled the ball on his way to third base, which was incredibly close to being the misplay of the postseason. It’s still 5-4 in the ninth.