What did Ron Washington say to Derek Holland last night?

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Ron Washington and Derek Holland provided two of my favorite moments from last night’s game.

The first came when Washington took Holland by the shoulders and gave him a dugout pep talk moments before taking the mound in the first inning, trying to motivate the young left-hander who’d struggled in his previous two starts.

Holland shared some of the pep talk details with Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas:

The big thing was he was talking to me, motivating me more than anything. He said, “I know what your game plan is and you’re going to go in to hitters. Just don’t be hitting anybody.” He was telling me to stay in control, be relaxed and I’d be fine.

Injured reliever Darren O’Day noted afterward that Washington “does that a lot with Holland” and last night it certainly worked, as the second caught-on-camera moment came when the manager went out to the mound in the ninth inning to chat with Holland before eventually deciding to end his bid for a complete-game shutout in favor of Neftali Feliz.

Holland recapped that chat as well:

He’s like, “Nope, you ain’t going out there son.” I said, “Come on, Wash. You got to let me go. I can get this. I’m going to try to get a double play and do everything I can.” He said, “Nope, you ain’t getting out there. Just watch the crowd reaction when you get out of here, son.” I said, “All right, I’ll see you later Wash. Thanks.”

That’s a lot of “son” mentions in a relatively short chat and if Holland really ended things with “I’ll see you later Wash” he’s my new favorite player.

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

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It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.