Houston Astros right-hander Cristian Javier didn’t have his best season in 2023.
Usually a good bet to finish with an ERA in the 2.00s or the 3.00s, the righty with the high-spin fastball finished with a 4.56 ERA in 162 innings.
Javier’s strikeout rate fell under 9.00 per nine innings for the first time since 2020, and he was uncharacteristically homer prone (25 long balls allowed this year in the regular season).
However, he is also known for being a postseason monster, so the question ahead of Tuesday’s game was: which version of Javier will we see in the 2023 playoffs?
The one that dominates every October, or the one that struggled this year?
He provided an emphatic answer on Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins.
In five innings, he didn’t surrender any runs.
He did walk five hitters and allow one hit, but he struck out nine foes in one of his most dominant starts of the year.
Most importantly, he helped give the Astros a commanding 2-1 lead in the best-of-five Division Series.
It was Javier’s third consecutive 5+ inning scoreless performance in the playoffs, and he is nearing a record held by New York Yankees legend Whitey Ford.
“Most consecutive #Postseason starts with 5+ innings pitched and no runs allowed: 4 – Whitey Ford (1960-1961); 3 – Cristian Javier (2022-2023); 3 – Christy Mathewson (1905); 3 – Kenny Rogers (2006),” MLB Network tweeted.
Most consecutive #Postseason starts with 5+ innings pitched and no runs allowed:
4 – Whitey Ford (1960-1961)
3 – Cristian Javier (2022-2023)
3 – Christy Mathewson (1905)
3 – Kenny Rogers (2006) pic.twitter.com/b4gmUanaqQ
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) October 10, 2023
Javier’s streak started in last year’s Championship Series against the Yankees, with 5.1 scoreless frames and five punchouts.
Then, he tossed six scoreless frames in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, adding nine strikeouts.
And then he had Tuesday’s gem.
In 37.2 career postseason innings, Javier’s ERA is a brilliant 1.91.
He is one of the best in the game when the lights are bright.NEXT: Jose Abreu Is Getting Back To His Old Ways In October