The Houston Astros’ 9-1 victory on Wednesday night left them a win away from a return to the World Series, and manager Dusty Baker talked in advance of Game 6 of the ALCS with the Boston Red Sox about the message for his club going into a potential close-out game tonight. Did he tell them anything special?
“No,” Baker explained. “You just play. You know, you let them play. You don’t put any extra pressure on them. Like you probably have a little shorter leash than you ordinarily would. Whoever is pitching, unless it’s one of your top dogs or unless, you know, like you got Cy Young candidate or something, you probably just have a little shorter leash and just let them play.”
“These guys have been through it before,” he added during his media availability on the off-day on Thursday. “Like I said, people talk too much sometimes, and people meet too much. Everybody wants to know what you are going to tell them. I’m just going to say, go play. You know what I mean? Sometimes you got to get out of the way and just let them play versus always telling them something or talking to them.”
Alex Cora’s Red Sox need to win two in a row over the Astros now if they want to make it to the World Series again. Does he think his club can bounce back?
“That’s the goal,” Cora said. “Obviously, we are where we are, but we just got to take it — you can say all the cliches, right? One pitch at a time. One play at a time. One inning at a time. One game at a time. One day at a time. It doesn’t matter. You name it, we have them. Doesn’t matter. We’re going out there and play a good baseball game tomorrow, and then play another good baseball game in two days.”
“We’ll be ready for tomorrow,” he added. “We’ve been there. We’ve gone there, and we won three in a row at one point in the playoffs not too long ago and we faced some great pitchers, right? We celebrated there. So, like I said, our goal is to go tomorrow and put a whole baseball game, win and move on to the next one, and we do the same thing, and we’ll be in the World Series if we do that.”
Will the Astros punch their ticket to the World Series or will the Sox force a Game 7? We find out tonight, starting at 8:08 PM ET in Minute Maid Park.