Even before he allowed three runs in the ninth inning of the Astros 6-2 game four loss, the postseason had not been kind to Astros closer Ken Giles, so naturally, a little less than four hours before the start of game five, Astros manager A.J. Hinch was asked if Giles would automatically get the ball in a save situation in the ninth inning again.
“No, not automatically, he said. “I’m not sure who it will go to, but it most likely won’t go to Ken tonight.”
Giles entered game four with the game tied at one, and allowed all three Dodgers he faced to reach. Corey Seager singled, Justin Turner walked, and Cody Bellinger doubled home Seager to knock Giles out of the game. Turner and Bellinger eventually scored with Joe Musgrove on the mound. Saturday’s failure came after Giles could not close out game two at Dodger Stadium, a game the Astros eventually won in 11 innings.
“I’ll try to lift the burden off of him carrying this end-of-the-game pressure with him.”
The 27-year old has appeared in seven games this postseason and been scored on in six of those contests. He has an 11.74 ERA in 7.2 innings after finishing the regular season with a 2.30 ERA, saving 34 games.
“He’s tough enough to handle it,” Hinch said. “He’s got weapons enough to handle it. This is a big stage, he wants to do well like everybody does. And having to live it out on this stage has been a little bit of a grind for him. Got to have a short memory as a closer, no matter what. If we need him to get critical outs, he’s going to come in and give his best.”
With a massive horde of reporters waiting for him in front of his locker, Giles took the blame for the Astros game four, calling his pitches “crappy”, but vowed he’d get the job done the next time he gets the opportunity. While Hinch said he’s unlikely to use Giles in a save situation, it doesn’t mean the hard-throwing righty’s season is over.
“I did tell him last night after the game that, “You know, look, I’m going to hand you the ball again in the series. I’m not sure when it is. I’m not sure you what the situation will be,” but he wasn’t surprised. He understands and he wants to be there for his teammates, he wants to be there for me, the coaches, and ultimately he wants to win a World Series.”