Before this season, Alfredo Simon had 19 career starts over the course of his six year career. Sixteen of them came in 2011, as the Orioles experimented with him as a sometimes-starter, sometimes-reliever. He hadn’t started a game since then. Following the departure of Bronson Arroyo, Reds manager Bryan Price decided that Simon would be the best choice to move into the Reds rotation. While Simon had been excellent in relief in Cincinnati, there was no guarantee that he could make the transition to full-time starting pitcher.
But make it he has. Simon put forth another workmanlike start last night, allowing three runs over six and a third to notch the win over Pittsburgh. It was his tenth win of the season which leads the National League.
Simon has a 3.05 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP and a 55/22 K/BB ratio. Not a gigantic gamble by Price, but one that is certainly paying off.
The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.
In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.
Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).
Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.
With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.