For only the second time in World Series history and the first since 1956, a team threw a no hitter in the fall classic and that team was your Houston Astros. After being rocked by the Phillies in Game 3, the Astros spun a gem led by Christian Javier and a trio of relievers, winning 5-0 and evening the series at 2-2.
The offense managed to get off the ropes as well, scoring five runs — all in the fifth inning — and once again getting to ace starter Aaron Nola. Game 5 is Thursday with Justin Verlander trying to redeem himself for his poor showing in Game 1 while the Phillies counter with a bullpen game started by Noah Syndergaard.
Pitchers for both ballclubs combined for 25 strikeouts in Game 4 including a rather surprising 11 for the Astros, a team that ranked near the top of the league in avoiding the strikeout. The Phillies continued to be susceptible to the high fast ball, something Verlander will no doubt note going into Game 5.
Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly
What an incredible group of relievers the Astros have this season. On Wednesday, it was Abreu, Montero and Pressly wrapping up three hitless innings to preserve the no-no. They combined for four strikeouts and just one walk to help the Astros to the combined no hitter.
The big inning
This World Series has been all about the crooked number. Big innings have buried opponents and Wednesday was the Astros night with a five-run fifth inning, their only scoring of the game. In Game 4, they didn't rely on the long ball, but instead produced timely hitting to get runs across the plate. This has been a series with scoring in bunches, which is why it is so critical for both teams to prevent that if they want to win.
It is arguable that Javier is the Astros best pitcher right now. Between he and Framber Valdez, they might be the two hottest pitchers in baseball. Javier was simply brilliant in six innings striking out nine and walking two. His parents told him Tuesday night that he was going to pitch a no hitter on Wednesday. Can they tell all the Astros pitchers that?
Aaron Nola and Jorge Alvarado
Nola had been one of the steadiest pitchers in the postseason until the World Series. Alvarado had been one of two of their gunslingers out of the bullpen. In this series, they have combined for 18 hits and 10 runs over two games. The Astros have absolutely dominated two of the Phillies' best pitchers.
Yordan Alvarez's backside
In the fifth with the bases loaded, the Phils went to Alvarado to go lefty on lefty against Alvarez. On the first pitch, Alvarado drilled the Astros designated hitter with a 99 mph heater in the rear end. It gave them a lead they would not relinquish though Yordan may have a bruise on his butt tomorrow.
Diaz, who played left field on Wednesday, is 1-18 in the postseason. He looked completely lost in Game 4 and was taken out for defensive replacement Mauricio Dubon in the ninth. One has to wonder if this is the last we see of Diaz in this series. Trey Mancini hasn't been much better, but this could open the door for David Hensley to get more at bats. Anything is better than Diaz right now.
The Astros came into the World Series unbeaten in the postseason. That ended in Game 2. The Phillies were unbeaten at home until Game 4. The only streak we have not seen defeated in this series yet is the one where neither team has lost two in a row in roughly a month. That could change on Thursday.