Necessary. 362 comments

Astros savior Justin Verlander pitched his team to a Game 7 with no earned runs and eight strikeouts in seven shutout innings.


You can take off the “if necessary” asterisks. There will be a Game 7.

The Astros needed someone to exhale. Someone to quit panicking. Someone to quit gripping the bat so hard they were turning it into sawdust.

That someone was Brian McCann.

After going 0-for-10, flailing and failing in grand fashion, McCann finally picked up his first hit of the series in Game 6: a double that broke the ice and scored the run that had been eluding the Astros in their forgettable trip to New York.

Until that point, it had looked like the Astros were done scoring in the calendar year of 2017.

But with their collective sphincters unclenched, Jose Altuve kept the inning and the scoring going with a two-out single to left, giving the Astros some daylight. And with Justin Verlander having a series for the ages, the 3-0 lead seemed huge. If they could just figure out a way to skip the bullpen.

With their season on the line, and their bats more inept than a Rangers second baseman, the Astros finally broke though in that fifth inning. This after scoring just nine runs in five games.

Suddenly, a team with one of the worst post-season series offenses came to life. Not a moment too soon.

How bad is the Astros offense? Brian McCann picked up his first two hits of the series; at .143, he is now the sixth best hitter on the team. Josh Reddick and Evan Gattis haven’t gotten a hit yet. Carlos Beltran, at .083, has one. George Springer and Darvish-perfect-game-killer Marwin Gonzalaz have two each. How quaint. Eight of the twelve Astros hitters are batting under .150.

And the Astros have hit only two home runs.

Yet, here they are, a Game 7. A game away from the World Series. With no offense. And no bullpen.

With only Justin Verlander. And Jose Altuve.

Maybe that’s all you need.


C.C. Sabathia (14-5, 3.69) vs Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62)
Game time: 7:08 on FS1

How the Yankees hit against Morton.
How the Astros hit against Sabathia.