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ALCS: Game 1 – Clash of the Titans

When the two best teams in the game face-off, you’re going to get fireworks. One team managed to light the fuse, while the other crumbled.

Fenway Park by Jeffrey Zeldman is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

ALCS: Game 1 – Clash of the Titans

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

I keep hearing people refer to this series as a clash of the titans, which can only mean one thing:

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This ALCS is a battle of two teams that have won a combined 211 games this season, the second most from two teams in a postseason series ever! Houston has the league’s number one pitching staff (both by starter and bullpen ERA) and Boston has the league’s number one offense (by average and runs scored). Which team would “Krak” first? Would the Kraken be released? Who is the Kraken in this metaphor? Like the season finale of Lost, I will provide only minimal answers, but I will provide a recap with a Houston Astros bias.

Inning 1:

Everybody looks alright, settling in. Man, Red Sox starter Chris Sale is a string bean. Yikes, replay comes to bite the Astros in the proverbial behind. It’s ok though, Astros starter Justin Verlander also emerges unscathed. Score 0-0

Inning 2:

If you tuned in late, you missed it! The Monstars stole Chris Sale’s talent for this inning, and if you don’t get that Space Jam reference, get out. Actually Sale’s stuff still looks nasty, he’s just having trouble finding the strike zone. Walk to Correa. HBP on Maldonado. Walk to Reddick. Then a laser beam by George Springer to the third base side to score two runs. Verlander pitches another scoreless inning for the Astros. LET’S GO ASTROS! Astros up 2-0.

Inning 3:

Sale’s looking shaky. Replay goes the Red Sox way again though and Sale gets through the inning. Verlander, to paraphrase Taylor Swift, “keep[s] cruising, can’t stop, won’t stop grooving.” Score still Astros up 2-0.

Inning 4:

Clean inning. Sale and Verlander show themselves to be good pitchers, and water is still wet.

Inning 5:

Joe Kelly comes on to relieve Sale and I sort of wish Tyler Austin was here to fight him, but he’s not so it’s an uneventful inning. Then stuff unravels for Verlander in the 5th. Suddenly the Monstars stole his talent and he can’t find the strike zone.

Every big pitch is a ball and Verlander can’t seem to, as the philosopher Taylor Swift once said, “shake it off.” He gives up a hit, then a walk, then another walk and it’s bases loaded. Then he walks the next guy in, son of a nutcracker!

It’s ok, Verlander has got Benintendi on a 1-2 count with two outs, as long as he doesn’t throw a wild pitch he’s—he threw a wild pitch, score tied 2-2. Now it’s a 3-2 count on Benintendi aaaand…CALLED THIRD STRIKE. And I’m sending a thank you note to the home plate umpire for his generous strike zone. Astros catch a break and the score is tied 2-2.

Inning 6:

Red Sox Manager Alex Cora got tossed for arguing about that last called strike. I always love when managers argue with umpires, it’s how I envision managers acted when baseball was first invented. You know, back in the time when fielders had to peg runners to get the out rather than just catching the ball and touching a bag. It’s a good bit of theater.

Bregman calls a late timeout during his at bat vs. Joe Kelly and Joe Kelly is not happy. On the very next pitch Joe Kelly hits Bregman. Bregman stares down Kelly. Is Bregman going to join the Joe Kelly fight club? No, it’s just stares, everyone’s good, but maybe it plants the seed for future Bregman-Kelly at bats.

Rough defense, Red Sox, but I don’t mind! There are now two runners aboard for the Astros.

Then Carlos Correa comes through! He totally gets jammed on a pitch, but luckily the ball ends up in no man’s land and the Astros go back up 3-2.  Verlander keeps it together and we head to the 7th….

7th Inning:

The crowd stretched and probably sang something, not much else happened.

8th Inning:

The best thing that happened in this inning was courtesy of the umpire. Jake Marisnick of the Astros steals second, Christian Vazquez of the Red Sox throws down to 2nd to try to catch him, and Cowboy Joe West blocks the ball from going all the way into the outfield. Red Sox fans boo, but they should address a thank you note to Joe West for maybe saving the Red Sox a run. Also, Joe West seems fine, he’s a cowboy after all.


9th Inning:

Josh Reddick hits a HUGE home run, and then Yuli Gurriel drives a dagger into the heart of Red Sox fans with a three run home run. Astros WIN 7-2.

I have to say, the final box score will not capture what was actually a thrilling and close game. The pressure is all on the Red Sox, will they be able to keep the Astros from a repeat? Right now, it doesn’t look good for them.

Gauntlet thrown, Astros in 4. Apologies to Taylor Swift, Clash of the Titans, and philosophers everywhere. I cannot wait for game two, let’s go ‘stros!

Ryan Neely is an Actor, Writer, and Director (but really, who isn't nowadays?) based in New York. A native Texan, Ryan is an Astros super-fan, as well as a fan of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Aggies sports teams. You can spot him playing baseball and football all over Riverside park, he'll be the guy on the field taking it way too seriously. He recently created a comedy web series called, "A Day Late and Ten Pounds Overweight" and can be seen masquerading as the first captain of the first college football team ever.

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