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Snake Bytes 10/27: All Square

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The Houston Astros dominated their way to an even series last night in Washington.

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World Series - Houston Astros v Washington Nationals - Game Four Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

World Series

[USA Today] Astros pour it on to beat Nationals in Game 4, tie up World Series - Every year, it seems, some little-known player unexpectedly grabs the October spotlight by turning in the performance of his life. In Game 4 of the 2019 World Series, that player was Jose Urquidy of the Houston Astros. The rookie right-hander – with a total of 41 major league innings under his belt – held the Washington Nationals to just two hits in five shutout innings Saturday night as the Astros evened the series with a 8-1 victory and ensured the two teams will return to Houston next week. Dormant during the first two games of the series, the Houston offense struck early against Nationals starter Patrick Corbin, who had been brilliant (8-2, 2.40 ERA) at home during the regular season. Four consecutive singles – by Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel – produced two runs and forced Corbin to throw a total of 26 pitches in the first inning.

[CBS Sports] World Series Game 4 takeaways: Astros’ Jose Urquidy dominates, Alex Bregman slams Nationals in win - The 2019 World Series is officially going back to Houston. The Houston Astros rode their rookie fourth starter to a Game 4 win over the Washington Nationals (HOU 8, WAS 1) on Saturday night to join the 1986 Mets and 1996 Yankees as the only teams to win Games 3 and 4 of the World Series on the road after losing Games 1 and 2 at home. The Nationals have lost back-to-back games for the first time since Sept. 13-14 against the Braves. That was also the last time they were held to no more than one run in back-to-back games.

[Associated Press] The Late Show: World Series games taking almost 4 hours - Snacking on chicken at a picnic table near section 402, decked out in his curly W cap and pullover, Bob Batwinis hoped to see a lot at Game 4 of the World Series. Exciting plays. A Washington win. And maybe, just maybe on this evening at Nationals Park, the final out sometime before midnight. “It’s an embarrassment that baseball has turned into a marathon that kids can’t watch,” the retired school teacher said Saturday. Not just kids, either. Baseball is a sport of stats, and here’s one that nobody enjoys seeing: So far, games in this Fall Classic are averaging 3 hours, 54 minutes. The Late, Late Show, indeed. “When you get to the World Series, every pitch and every decision is going to be more magnified. They’re more important now, so they’re going to take a little more time,” former manager Jim Leyland said as Houston took batting practice Saturday. “But there’s no question about it, they’re dragging on a little too long,” he said.

Around the League

[The Athletic] What Kris Bryant’s service-time grievance means for the Cubs, the union and Major League Baseball - The Cubs and Kris Bryant are at the center of a much bigger labor war between Major League Baseball and the players union. As the Cubs hired David Ross to be their new manager and the World Series was in full swing, sources confirmed another potentially momentous event for the baseball industry took place behind the scenes this week in New York. In filing a grievance on behalf of Bryant, the Major League Baseball Players Association has an ideal case to highlight how teams manipulate service time under the collective bargaining agreement. Scott Boras, Bryant’s agent, and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein testified before arbitrator Mark L. Irvings, as MLB Network analyst Jon Heyman reported. Bryant was also in New York for the hearing, which featured long sessions this week with the league’s labor lawyers and the union’s legal team. By starting Bryant at Triple-A Iowa to begin the 2015 season — and delaying his promotion until April 17 — the Cubs seemingly ensured that he would remain under club control for almost seven full years. Instead of becoming a free agent after the 2020 season, Bryant would have to wait to hit the open market until after the 2021 season, when the current labor deal is set to expire.

[MLB Trade Rumors] Angels To Hire Mickey Callaway As Pitching Coach - The Angels have hired former Mets manager Mickey Callaway to be the new pitching coach, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network. He’ll join newly-minted manager Joe Maddon’s staff in Los Angeles. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale first mentioned that the two sides were close to an agreement. Per Nightengale, Callaway is stilled owed $1.05MM for the 2020 season by the Mets, who terminated his contract early. Fired by the Mets just more than three weeks ago, It didn’t take long for Callaway to attract interest as a pitching coach, the role in which he made a name for himself. Though he’s drawn his fair share of criticism for his work leading the Mets over the last two seasons, he earned that position on the back of a half-decade of stellar work with the Indians’ pitching staff, which garnered him a reputation as one of the finest pitching coaches in the game.