The Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4 of the World Series on Wednesday night by a score of 5-0 to even the series a 2-2, and they did so in historic fashion – Houston starter Cristian Javier and three relievers combined for just the second no-hitter in World Series history.
Javier, the 25-year-old right-hander, worked the first six innings without allowing a hit. From there, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly pitched the final three hitless frames to complete the bid. The combined effort is just the second no-hitter in World Series history and the first since Don Larsen’s perfect game for the Yankees in 1956. In addition, it’s the first MLB postseason no-hitter since Roy Halladay’s for the Phillies against the Reds in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS.
Now for some takeaways from an unforgettable night in South Philly.
Javier was dominant
This wasn’t a case of a no-hit bid that’s built upon good fortune – Javier owned the Philly lineup in Game 4. In those six innings, he struck out nine, walked two, and spotted 63 of his 97 pitches for strikes. He induced 25 whiffs plus called strikes. He also did an excellent job of suffocating contact off the bat, as no Philly hitter managed a batted ball with an expected batting average north of .100 until the sixth inning.
Javier leaned heavily on his fastball in Game 4, as he threw the four-seamer 72 percent of the time. That firmly established bedrock pitch allowed Javier to keep the Phillies off balance with some well timed sliders. The slider was far and away Javier’s best swing-and-miss offering during Game 4, but everything was working.
This + Javier’s ALCS gem vs. the Yankees = history
In Javier’s last start this postseason, he tamed the Yankees by allowing zero runs on one hit in 5 1/3 innings. Not surprisingly, that kind of unrelenting stinginess when it comes to allowing hits in consecutive playoff starts has never been glimpsed before:
The Phillies almost broke it up in the eighth
With two outs in the eighth, Philly’s Jean Segura jumped all over a first-pitch fastball from Montero and very nearly interrupted the Astros’ appointment with history. Here’s a look:
That was a well-struck liner to say the least, but unfortunately for Segura and the Phillies it was right at Gold Glover Kyle Tucker in right. As it turns out, that quality of hit – meaning, the launch angle and exit velocity (99 mph in Segura’s case) – is almost always a hit:
However, it wasn’t on Wednesday night in Game 4. The second closest the Phillies came to a hit? That would be a hard-hit Kyle Schwarber grounder in the third inning that just went foul down the first-base line. Schwarber struck out looking in the at-bat.
If you’re looking for multiple examples of symmetry that suggest some kind of grand design, then you’ve come to the right place. First, know that in 2022 alone this isn’t the first time Javier has anchored a no-hitter, and it’s also not the first time this year that the Phillies have come out on the wrong side of a combined no-hitter:
And who started for the Phillies when they were no-hit during the regular season? That would be Game 4 starter Aaron Nola:
Looking back to the Halladay no-hitter in 2010, the site of that no-hitter was Citizens Bank Park. The opposing manager in Halladay’s playoff no-hitter? That would be current Astros manager Dusty Baker.
It was a huge win for the Astros
This no-no occurred in the biggest game of Houston’s season to date. A loss would’ve put them down 3-1 in this best-of-seven series and historically given them just a 17.9 percent chance of coming back to win the series. Instead, Javier and company pitched Houston to a 2-2 tie. That means it’s essentially a best-of-three series now, and the Astros will host Game 6 and a potential Game 7. That’s a huge odds swing, and it’s reshaped the 2022 World Series.