Houston – Flembert Vardy Z’s record started the day with a high-quality start to a season in which the Houston Astros finished fourth in the AL West. There are only 15 games in the 2022 season, but their running differential is the worst in the division.
When Valdez’s 25-game streak ended, and a full five months later, the Astros had another AL West title and a first-rounder Bye. Justin Verlander’s return to dominance overshadowed it, but Valdez’s solid success also gave the Astros 106 wins.
He again proved consistent in Game 2 of the 2022 World Series. Valdez made another quality start for the Astros at Minute Maid Park Come on for a 5-2 victory in the series night. In true form, the sinkerballer earned his outs on the ground, not through the air: seven outs and no flyouts. He did strike out nine for the Phillies, well above his standards. His sinkers knocked the ground down; his curveballs sparked missed swings and strikeouts.
Valdez pitches hard, but he’s not a power pitcher, unlike many of his peers in the MLB rotation. Even his warm-up throws before each inning were softly thrown. In 31 games this season, he’s had more than nine strikeouts just three times. But he’s rarely used Saturday’s stuff this season. His sinker was nearly 2 mph faster than his average, and all of his pitches spun more than usual.
“Tonight,” Astros center fielder Chas McCormick said, “could be the best time I’ve ever seen him pitch.”
Three weeks after turning 29, Valdez has repeatedly reached new and unexpected heights. In the first five years he was eligible to sign, 30 MLB teams chose not to pursue him. When he was 21, ancient for a Dominican prospect, the Astros gave him $10,000. Three years later, he entered the majors. He still needs two more years to steer his command and establish himself.
Due to a lack of experienced starters, the Astros entrusted both Game 1 and Game 5 of the 2021 World Series to Valdez. Both times he didn’t deliver. In total, he surrendered 10 times, with only 14 outs. He was the series player who most hindered the team’s chances in terms of increased winning odds.
During the offseason, the Astros advised Valdez to see their sports psychologist. He has, and he talks repeatedly about the benefits of the job. He said the biggest change he made from 2021 to 2022 was not in his stuff or his approach, but in his ability to repeat both more consistently, even in stressful situations.
“I think last year, my mood got better during the World Series,” Valdez said on the eve of Saturday’s start. “I think the key this year is to keep doing what I’ve been doing and try not to take the game away from me, and I think we’ll get good results there.”
In The last time he started the playoffs, he nearly let the game out of his hands, it was Game 2 of the ALCS nine days ago. The heat and wind from the open roof at Minute Maid Park made him uncomfortable, and he struggled to control his powerful curveball until the fourth inning. He further messed up the regular fielding game, scoring both runs. But he bounced back to finish seven nearly spotless innings and put the Astros on a sweeping track.
He had no such struggle on Saturday. Valdez beat Rhys Hoskins in the first inning and Alec Bohm in the second, but didn’t allow a bat until the third. The Phillies couldn’t place both runners until the start of the sixth inning when Kyle Schwaber was gone and Hoskins singled. After a quiet visit from pitching coach Joshua Miller, Valdez responded, hitting JT Realmuto and drawing an inning-ending double from Bryce Harper. Play boules.
In extending his bullpen loss in Game 1, Astros general manager Dusty Baker wanted to hold Valdez in seven innings. He conceded as soon as he was out in the seventh inning. It’s been three years since the starter lasted longer in a World Series game.
“Flambert did what we needed him to do,” catcher Martin Maldonado said.
Houston Astros take back Game 2 of the World Series from Phillies
Ben Verlander and Alex Curry recap Game 2 of the Astros with a 5-2 victory. Houston benefited from an incredible start from Framber Valdez, a fiery first inning and a home run from Alex Bregman.
If Valdez did in last year’s World Series By this point, the Astros could be the champs. But he recovered from the failure, re-adjusted his mentality, practiced some calming techniques, and emerged from it.
“I think his mentality has changed,” close to Ryan said logically. “That’s what makes us better – get knocked down a little and then figure out a way to be better. He must have figured it out.”
Baker only Turning to two relievers, Pressley and Rafael Montero, got the remaining eight outs after Valdez pulled out. They were more dramatic than Valdez but equally assured of the outcome. Thanks to their solid No. 2 starter, the Astros are back in a comfortable position in this World Series despite a poor start. Next, he’ll try to build a playoff three-game winning streak in Game 6, which feels like an inevitable Game 6.
I’ve been through it all year and he just keeps doing the same thing in the playoffs,” Baker said. “He’s a big out. He throws big. “
Pedro Moura is a national baseball writer for FOX Sports He has previously covered the Dodgers for The Athletic, the Angels and Dodgers for the Orange County Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times, and his alma mater USC for ESPN Los Angeles. He’s “How to Beat a Broken Game” ” author. Follow him on Twitter @pedromoura.