Twenty-five runs, 28 hits, 14 pitchers, 417 pitches, seven home runs, 10 innings, five hours, 17 minutes and a walk-off win. Sunday night’s Game 5 of the World Series between the LA Dodgers and Houston Astros was an epic bout for the ages.
The game ended as thrilling as the rest of it played out when Astros third baseman Alex Bregman poked a single into left field in the bottom of the 10th inning with runners on first and second and two outs. Pinch runner Derek Fisher, who was brought in to run at second base for catcher Brian McCann, came around and scored easily as left fielder Andre Ethier’s throw was about a second late. The Astros took the marathon game by a final of 13-12 and claimed a 3-2 series lead.
Through the course of the contest, momentum swung freely and emotions rode high. Win probabilities were shattered the instant they were calculated. According to baseball-reference.com’s win probability chart for the game, the moment the momentum swung in favor of the home team came in the bottom of the fifth inning. Astros second baseman Jose Altuve stepped up to the plate with Houston trailing 7-4 and runners on first and second. As we’ve come to expect, Altuve smoked a long fly ball to the left-center field gap that sailed high over the wall for a three-run home run to tie the game. The Astros’ win probability jumped from 17 percent to 51 percent.
True to the chaos that was Game 5, the Dodgers fought back and regained the lead in the top of the seventh inning. Dodger first baseman Cody Bellinger ripped a line drive to center with utility man Enrique Hernandez on first. Center fielder George Springer dove to catch the ball, but it was short of his glove and skipped over his sprawling body to the warning track before left fielder Marwin Gonzalez corralled it and threw the ball back to the infield. Hernandez scored to give the Dodgers an 8-7 lead and a 76-percent chance of victory, up from 50 percent.
Springer responded immediately in the bottom of the seventh, and crushed a leadoff solo blast to left on the first pitch he saw from reliever Brandon Morrow. The dinger swung win probability back to the Astros by 23 percent to a 59-percent chance of victory. The Dodgers never gained the upper hand in win probability again.
In this wild and crazy game, we saw five half-innings with more than one run scored, four ties, five lead changes and 11 runs scored from the seventh inning on. While we’re not likely to ever see anything like this again, we can expect the Dodgers to fight with everything they’ve got to stay alive in this series. Game 6 probably won’t live up to the emotional roller coaster that was Game 5, but with what we’ve seen to this point, it won’t disappoint.
Photo by Brigham Berthold