It’s win or go home time for the Astros. A trip to the World Series is on the line in Friday’s must-win Game 6.
So are Astros fans panicking, and what does the team need to do to shake off three losses in a row to the Yankees?
Dr. Demetrius Pearson, a former college baseball player turned University of Houston Health and Human Performance professor, told KHOU he believes playing at home is going to be a big boost to the Astros. Dr. Pearson says knowing that if they win, they’ll be playing Game 7 at home and not in New York, where they’ll have to deal with the “Yankee Mystique” of Yankee Stadium, will be a big boost.
Every single fan KHOU spoke with Thursday agreed: being at home, surrounded by their own fans, and inside of the stadium where they won their first two games will give the Astros a big psychological boost.
Dr. Rheeda Walker, associate professor of psychology at the University of Houston, said she’s not surprised how optimistic fans are, given everything the city’s been through in recent weeks.
“Post-Harvey, the Astros were out there being a representation of what it means to be Houston Strong and what it means to come together,” Dr. Walker said. “I’m not surprised people are still optimistic for them, because they identify with this similar sort of can-do optimism and spirit.”
While the fans are showing the team a lot of love, a few of them still had some ideas of what they would change up in Game 6 if they were manager.
“As long as (Justin) Verlander’s on the mound, I think that should be doing it,” said Matthew Olivarez. “(Dallas) Keuchel would be good as well, (Lance) McCullers did his thing. Our pitchers are doing well. I just feel like we need to get more hits.”
“I really don’t change anything,” said Sidney Victorian, another fan. “I just let ‘em play. I think the guys need to work it out.”
“I would just go and have a heart-to-heart with those boys and tell ‘em, ‘It’s our year,’” said another fan. “’You need to get your stuff together.’”
Dr. Pearson also said a big game like Game 6 is where a player’s training kicks in, so you don’t really want to change too much. But he said we could see starters coming in as relief pitchers -- whomever the manager can trust to come in and save the game when it’s on the line.