If there is one thing that is true about the MLB playoffs, it is a game of emotion. That has been the case in the American League Championship Series between the Houston Astors and Texas Rangers.
Friday night, that emotion got the best of both teams and it might have been the wrong time for the Rangers' Adolis Garcia to poke the bear.
Adolis Garcia woke up the Houston Astros when they were on the ropes
After winning the first two games of the ALCS in Houston, the Rangers went home, two wins away from a trip to the World Series. You should never count a champion out and that was the case with the Astros.
After winning Games 3 and 4 to even the series, Houston took a 2-1 lead in Game 5, only to have Garcia step up in the sixth inning and launch a three-run home run to left field for a 4-2 lead and he pimped it. The Texas bullpen did their job in the seventh and eighth innings and they were three outs away from taking a 3-2 series lead back to Houston for Game 6 Sunday night.
Garcia stepped into the box in the bottom of the eighth and was hit by a pitch with a runner on and nobody out by Astros relief pitcher Bryan Abreu. Garcia got upset, got in the face of Houston catcher Martín Maldonado and they exchanged words. Abreu, Garcia, and Astros manager Dusty Baker were all ejected. Houston got out of a first and second no-out jam and then just might have taken control of the series with an emotional top of the ninth.
Yainer Diaz led off the inning with a single and Jon Singleton drew a walk from Texas pitcher José Leclerc. Playoff hero Jose Altuve stepped up to the plate and hit a three-run home run to left field for a 5-4 lead, which turned into a win and a 3-2 series commanding lead. After the game, Maldonado joined the MLB on Fox Postgame Show and said, "The worst thing he did was wake up the Houston Astros.''
Texas was in a position entering the bottom of the eighth inning where they led by two runs, were three outs away from taking a 3-2 series lead back on the road, and were one win away from the World Series. Instead, Garcia got upset about, which he thought was, being hit intentionally ... and I get it. However, I have to agree with Baker that it was not intentional given the scenario. Houston is not going to put two runners with no outs in the bottom of the eight chasing two runs.
Yes, Garcia could have taken the HBP, gone to first, and looked toward the bigger picture. Instead, he ignited a bench-clearing situation and woke up the defending champions in a spot where they were on the ropes. It's just best to let sleeping dogs lie and waking up the Astros might end up ending the Rangers' season before they reach the World Series. Game and situation are big in baseball and Garcia didn't read it right last night. Now Texas needs to win two games in Houston and that is a tall task compared to needing to win just one.