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Preview: World Series Game 5 – Houston Astros (1-3) at Atlanta Braves (3-1)

WORLD SERIES, GAME 5: LHP FRAMBER VALDEZ (1-1, 6.35) VS. LHP TUCKER DAVIDSON (POST. DEBUT)

HOUSTON ASTROS NOTES

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Astros and Braves will play Game 5 of the 117th World Series tonight in what is now a potential elimination game for the Astros…to force a Game 6 in Houston, the Astros will start LHP Framber Valdez tonight, who’s had an up and down postseason, combining for a 6.35 ERA in four starts… the Braves will counter LHP Tucker Davidson, who’ll be making his postseason debut.

IT’S BEEN DONE BEFORE: This marks the 49th time that the World Series stands at 3-1…of the previous 48 teams to trail 3-1, seven of those came back to win the series, most recently the 2016 Cubs.

BACK IN THE CLASSIC: The Astros are playing in their fourth World Series in franchise history, previously doing so in 2005, 2017 and 2019…of the Astros three previous trips, this marks the first time for Houston to be down 3-1 after four games.

ASTROS WORLD SERIES APPS. RESULT
2005 Astros vs. White Sox White Sox in 4
2017 Astros vs. Dodgers Astros in 7
2019 Astros vs. Nationals Nationals in 7
2021 Astros vs. Braves

AT THE HELM: Astros Manager Dusty Baker is the ninth manager in MLB history to win the pennant in both leagues (also the 2002 Giants)…Baker ranks eighth all-time in postseason managerial wins with 39, including a 16-11 record in the postseason as the Astros manager…by virtue of the Astros AL West title this season, Baker is the only manager in MLB history to win division titles with five different clubs (Astros, Nationals, Reds, Cubs, Giants).

TWO-OUT MAGIC: The Astros have scored 78 runs this postseason, 46 of those coming with two outs in the inning, which is tied with the 2004 Red Sox and the 1997 Indians for second-most in a single postseason in MLB history…according to MLB Network, only last
year’s Dodgers (59) have scored more two-out runs in a single postseason than this year’s Astros.

BULL MARKET: The Astros bullpen has posted a 3.12 ERA (24ER/69.1IP) and a .215 opponent batting average this postseason…the group has been particularly effective in the last seven games, allowing just five earned runs in 31.1 innings pitched (1.44 ERA).

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Leading 2-1 through the 6th, the Astros allowed back-to-back homers to the Braves in the 7th, in the eventual 3-2 Braves win in Game 4 of the World Series…2B Jose Altuve (2×5) scored both runs for the Astros and hit his fifth homer of the
postseason…RHP Zack Greinke (0ER/4IP) pitched well in his start and went 1×2 with a single at the dish.

ZACK AND THE BABE: According to MLB’s Sarah Langs, last night RHP Zack Greinke became the second pitcher in World Series history to start a game batting anywhere other than 9th, joining Babe Ruth in the 1918 World Series Game 4, who hit 6th…Greinke
hit 8th last night and went 1×2, becoming the first Astros pitcher to record a hit in a World Series game.

THE FOUR HORSEMAN: According to The Athletic, 2B Jose Altuve, 3B Alex Bregman, SS Carlos Correa and 1B Yuli Gurriel have started more postseason games together than any four teammates in MLB history (71 games)…in Game 2 of the World Series, the Astros group surpassed the quintet of Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill, which started 68 postseason games for the Yankees (1996-2001).

COMING UP BIG: Last night, 2B Jose Altuve hit his 23rd career postseason homer, which ranks second all time in MLB history…Altuve  also ranks third in MLB postseason history in runs (68), tied for fifth in extra-base hits (38) and eighth in RBI (49).

ALL-TIME POSTSEASON HOME RUNS IN MLB HISTORY
1. Manny Ramirez 29 HR in 111 games
2. Jose Altuve 23 HR in 77 games
3. Bernie Williams 22 HR in 121 games
4. Derek Jeter 20 HR in 158 games

LIKE MIKE: LF Michael Brantley is a career .333 (15×45) hitter in the World Series, collecting multi-hit games in five of his 11 career contests in the Fall Classic…Brantley is having a great 2021 postseason, hitting .323 (20×62) with nine RBI in 14 games.

KYLE DRIVER: RF Kyle Tucker leads all players in RBI this postseason with 15 in 14 games…his RBI total ranks second in club history for a single postseason, trailing only SS Carlos Correa, who posted 17 RBI in 13 postseason games in 2020…Tucker is now just the second player in MLB history to post seven extra-base hits, five steals and 15 RBI in a single postseason, joining OF Melvin Upton Jr. for the 2008 Rays.

M-V-PIÑA: 1B Yuli Gurriel, the reigning AL batting champ, is hitting .308 (16×52) this postseason with a double, a homer and nine  RBI…he’s up to 67 career postseason hits, which ranks fourth in MLB history by a first baseman, trailing only Albert Pujols (87), Tino
Martinez (83) and Steve Garvey (75).

CAPTAIN CLUTCH: With seven RBI this postseason, SS Carlos Correa has upped his postseason RBI total to 57, which ranks sixth in MLB history.

ALL-TIME POSTSEASON RBI IN MLB HISTORY
1. Bernie Williams: 80 T4. David Ortiz: 61
2. Manny Ramirez: 78 6. Carlos Correa: 57
3. David Justice: 63 7. Albert Pujols: 54
T4. Derek Jeter: 61 8. Reggie Jackson: 48

 

TONIGHT’S ASTROS STARTER: LHP FRAMBER VALDEZ

W-L ERA G GS IP H R ER BB SO
2021: 11-6 3.14 22 22 134.2 110 52 47 58 125
CAREER: 24-17 374 67 44 313.0 269 145 130 142 303
vs. ATL W-L ERA G GS IP H R ER BB SO

 

LAST START – 10/26 vs. ATL (WS Game 1): handed the loss in Game 1 of the World Series after allowing 5 runs on 8 hits in 2.0-plus innings of work…after allowing 3 runs in the first 2.0 frames, returned in the 3rd to allow a single (Rosario) and a homer (Duvall) before being lifted…also allowed a leadoff homer to Soler to start the series.

ABOUT FRAMBER: 27-year-old left-hander made 22 starts in the regular season and has started 4 times this postseason.

• missed the club’s first 49 games while on the IL (March 29-May 28) with a left index finger fracture…injured the finger in his first game of Spring Training on March 2 at NYM.

• from his first start of the season on May 28 through the end of the campaign, he was one of the best pitchers in the AL…since that date, he ranked T-1st in wins (11), 4th in ERA (3.14) and 4th in innings (134.2)… also posted the highest ground ball percentage (70.3%) in the Majors.

• allowed just 12 HR in his 134.2 regular season innings pitched this season for a 0.80 home runs per 9.0 ratio, 3rd lowest in the AL (min. 120 IP)… went 6 consecutive starts without allowing a homer from July 24-Aug. 22, tossing 37.1 innings in those outings.

LEFT ON LEFT: has held left-handed hitters to a .209 batting average (53×253) and a .638 OPS (.338 OBP/.300 SLG) in his regular season MLB career…has allowed just 4 homers to a lefty in his 4 MLB seasons, with 2 coming in on start earlier this season on Sept. 20 vs. LAA (Ohtani, Walsh).

• in 2021, was slightly better against righties than lefties…lefties hit .225 (18×80) with a .717 OPS off Valdez, compared to righties hitting .219 (92×421) with a .626 OPS off the lefty. vs. ATL: is facing the Braves for the 2nd time in his career, both coming this series…prior to his Game 1 start, had not faced an NL Eastern team in the regular season or postseason.

IN THE POST: has posted a 6.35 ERA (12ER/17IP) in his 4 starts this postseason…overall, in 8 career postseason appearances, is 4-2 with a \3.73 ERA (17ER/41IP) with 16 walks and 41 strikeouts…was the Astros best Postseason pitcher in 2020, making 4 appearances.

• made his postseason debut in Game 1 of the 2020 Wild Card Series at MIN…earned the win in relief after finishing the game with 5.0 scoreless innings…gave up just two hits and two walks with five strikeouts…became the 13th pitcher in MLB history to finish a postseason game with 5.0+ scoreless relief innings, and the first to do it since Madison Bumgarner ended Game 7 of the 2014 World Series at KC with 5.0 scoreless relief innings…became the first AL pitcher to do this since Pedro Martinez in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS at CLE.

• also started Game 1 of the 2020 ALCS at TB…at 26 years, 327 days old, became the third-youngest pitcher in franchise history to  start Game 1 of a postseason series.

• had a magical performance in Game 5 of the ALCS by tossing 8.0 innings of 1-run ball…took a no-hitter into the 5th, ultimately allowing just 3 hits and a walk on the night…became just the fourth Astros pitcher since 2000 to toss 8.0-plus innings in a postseason game, joining RHP Gerrit Cole (8IP, 2019 ALDS Game 5), RHP Justin Verlander (9IP, 2017 ALCS Game 2) and RHP Brandon Backe (8IP, 2004 NLCS Game 5)…his 8.0 innings pitched marked a career high.

 

ATLANTA BRAVES NOTES

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Braves and Astros continue the 117th World Series tonight with Game 5…These clubs have not met since the 2017 regular season, and have not played in the postseason since the 2005 National League Division Series.

• The Braves moved within one win of the title with last night’s 3-2 victory…Atlanta is looking for its fourth World Series title and first since 1995.

• The Braves are 27-30 (.474) in the World Series, despite having a positive run differential (+14, 199-185).

• These three games are Houston’s first trip to Atlanta since July 4-5, 2017, when they swept a two-game series by a combined score of 26-8.

• This series marks the clubs’ sixth postseason matchup and first since Houston moved to the American League in 2013…The Braves won the first three postseason series with Houston, sweeping the 1997 NLDS, before winning the 1999 NLDS, 3-1…They then swept the 2001 NLDS, before losing the 2004 NLDS in five games and the 2005 NLDS in four games.

• LHP Tucker Davidson is set to face Houston for the first time in his career in his postseason debut tonight…The 25-year-old lefty has made five career appearances, all starts, at the major league level, going 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA (10 ER/21. 2 IP)… Four of his five career appearances have been here in Atlanta, where he is 0-1 with a 5.74 ERA.

• LHP Framber Valdez is 1-1 with a 6.35 ERA (12 ER/17.0 IP) in four games, all starts, this postseason…He faced the Braves in Game 1, allowing five runs, earned, over 2.0 innings to lose, 6-2…The 27-year-old lefty had never faced the Braves prior to that start.

GAME 4 WIN: The Braves will look to win the World Series tonight after taking a 3-1 series lead with yesterday’s 3-2 win.

• The Braves won the city of Atlanta’s first major professional sports title in 1995, beating Cleveland in six games…The Milwaukee Braves also won the championship in 1957, defeating the Yankees in seven games…The organization’s first World Series title came in 1914, when the Boston Braves swept the Philadelphia Athletics in four games.

• The Braves have never won a World Series in a 162-game season…The 1995 team only played 144 games due to the player’s strike in 1994, and the 162-game schedule was not implemented for the National League until 1962.

• The club has won 22 of their last 28 games (.786), dating to September 19 in San Francisco, and have not lost consecutive games over this stretch.

• They have outscored the opposition 132-83 (+49) over this stretch, and four of their six losses were by two runs or less.

ROOKIE STARTERS: The Braves are set to start LHP Tucker Davidson tonight and become the first team in major league history to start three different rookie pitchers in a single World Series…Research courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau.

• RHP Ian Anderson started Game 3, while LHP Dylan Lee started Game 4.

• The last team to have a rookie make at least three starts in a World Series was the 1997 Florida Marlins, who got two starts out of RHP Liván Hernández and one LHP Tony Saunders.

• The last team to start three different rookies in a postseason series was the 2020 Braves in the National League Championship Series…Anderson started Game 2, RHP Kyle Wright started Game 3 and RHP Bryse Wilson started Game 4…Research courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau.

• In the regular season, the Braves used three different rookie starters all year…Davidson made four starts, Anderson 24, and LHP Kyle Muller made eight.

• The only National League teams to use fewer rookies to start a game this year were the Brewers (2), Mets (1) and Cardinals (1).

AT HOME: The Braves have won 12 of their last 13 games at home, including all seven of their games in the postseason…The club’s only loss in this stretch, which dates to September 28, was a 4-3 loss to New York on October 1.

• That lone loss came the day after the Braves clinched the NL East title.

• The Braves are looking to become the first ever team to go 8-0 at home in a single postseason…The best ever home record in a single postseason is held by the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies, who went 7-0 at Citizens Bank Park on their way to the title.

• That Phillies team beat the Brewers in the NLDS, the Dodgers in the NLCS and won the World Series in five games…The Braves beat the Brewers in the NLDS, the Dodgers in the NLCS, and are looking to win the World Series in five games.

CLINCH GAMES: The Braves enter tonight’s game looking to clinch the World Series…They closed out Milwaukee in the NLDS in their first clinch opportunity to snap a three-game losing streak in such chances, before needing two tries to beat the Dodgers.

• The Braves went 2-3 in clinch games last season, and over their last 15 clinching opportunities the club is 4-11 (.267)…Overall, the Braves are 18-23 (.439) in these games in franchise history.

APPEARANCES: LHP Tyler Matzek tossed a scoreless inning last night, and has appeared in 12 games so far in these playoffs to set the franchise record for most games pitched in a single postseason. • RHP Mark Wohlers had 11 appearances in 1995

 

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher

#64 Tucker Davidson
LHP • 6-2 • 215 • 25 yrs
2021 Record: 0-0, 3.60 ERA • 2020 Record: 0-1, 10.80 ERA
2021 Postseason: Debut • Career Postseason: Debut
vs. RHB: .211 (12-57), 2 HR • vs. LHB: .188 (3-16), 1 HR

 

Tonight’s Game
• Davidson is set to make his postseason debut tonight vs. Houston.

• He is looking to become the third rookie pitcher to start in this World Series for Atlanta, joining Game 3 starter Ian Anderson and Game 4 starter Dylan Lee.

• With tonight’s start, the 2021 Braves will become the first team in World Series history to pitch three different rookie starters,  consecutive or not, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

• The last team to have a rookie make at least three starts in a World Series was the 1997 Florida Marlins, who got two starts out of RHP Liván Hernández and one LHP Tony Saunders.

• The last team to start three different rookies in a postseason series was the 2020 Braves in the National League Championship Series…Anderson started Game 2, RHP Kyle Wright started Game 3 and RHP Bryse Wilson started Game 4…Research courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau.

• Has never faced the Astros.

• Has also never faced a member of Houston’s World Series roster.

• He last pitched in the majors on June 15 vs. Boston, when he pitched 2.1 innings and allowed five runs, all earned, with four strikeouts and a walk…The Red Sox hit two home runs as Davidson took the no-decision in the game.

• Davidson was placed on the 60-day injured list the following day with left forearm inflammation and missed the remainder of the regular season.

• Made one rehabilitation start with Triple-A Gwinnett, pitching 3.0 one-run innings and striking out five…He threw 40 pitches, 30 of which went for strikes.

2021 Recap
• Started on June 3 vs. Washington, and pitched 5.2 scoreless innings while allowing just one hit…Was left with a no-decision, but  Atlanta plated four runs in the sixth inning to win, 5-1.

• Became just the second Braves starter since 1901 to throw at least 5.0 scoreless innings and allow no more than one hit within their first three career starts.

• Matt Wisler was the first to do so, pitching 5.1 scoreless innings and allowing one hit on July 1, 2015, also against the Nationls in his third career game.

• Was recalled, June 3, from Triple-A Gwinnett for his third stint on the active roster.

• Was with Atlanta from April 14-15, but did not appear, and on May 18.

• Made his season debut with Atlanta, May 18 vs. the Mets, and held New York to five hits and three runs over 6.0 innings in a no-decision…Walked just one and struck out five.

• Davidson completed his 6.0 innings on just 72 pitches, an average of 12 per inning.

• New York scored a run in the top of the ninth to win, 4-3.

• Made four starts for Triple-A Gwinnett this season, and is 2-2 with a 1.17 ERA (3ER/23.0 IP)…The Stripers have outscored their opponents, 24-6, in his four starts.

• In his last start with the Stripers, October 3 vs. Jacksonville, pitched 3.0 innings and allowed three hits and a un with five strikeouts and a walk…Was dealt the loss after the Stripers were shut out.

• Was selected by Atlanta in the 19th round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft from Midland College in Midland, TX…Davidson was the fifth player from the 19th round in 2016 to appear in the majors when he did so last year.

• Just two players selected by the Braves in the 19th round have appeared for the club in the majors, with the last being OF Charles Thomas in 2004…Thomas was selected in the 19th round of the 2000 draft.

• Larry Bradford debuted with the Braves in 1977 after being drafted in the 19th round of the 1973 draft.

• Davidson is the second player from Atlanta’s 2016 draft class on the active roster, joining first-round pick Ian Anderson…Second-round selection Kyle Muller, Fourth-round selection Bryse Wilson and fifth-round selection Jeremy Walker have also pitched for the club.
Career Recap

• Was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 19th round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft…Signed by Nate Dion.

• Was named a mid-season and postseason Southern League All-Star, an MiLB Organization All-Star and and Double-A All-Star by Baseball America in 2019.

• In 95 career minor league games, including 66 starts, is 22-26 with a 2.76 ERA (124 ER/404.1 IP).

• Was a 2019 Future’s Game selection, has been named to six minor league All-Star teams, and is a three-time Pitcher of the Week in the minors.

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