Astros closer Ryan Pressly brings plenty of intensity to the mound. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Astros closer Ryan Pressly relishes the pressure of the ninth inning. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Ryan Pressly is used to securing the last out and celebrating. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Rafael Montero brings strikeout stuff out of the bullpen. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Bryan Abreu has strikeout stuff. Now he's harnessing it. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Hector Neris gives the Astros another bullpen force for what the stats say is the best relief corps in all of baseball. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Ryne Stanek is an important weapon for the Astros out of the bullpen. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Houston Astro Ryan Pressly & wife Kat at the HelpCureHD fundraiser at Minute Maid Park. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Rafael Montero can close games for the Houston Astros when needed. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Bryan Abreu has become a very important arm out of the Astros bullpen. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Rafael Montero can be a force in the back end of the Houston Astros' bullpen. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Hector Neris got plenty of love from catcher Martin Maldonado after a scoreless inning. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Ryne Stanek gives the Astros another weapon out of the bullpen. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Houston Astros fans were back in Minute Maid Park for a postseason game for the first since the 2019 World Series. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Young Astros fans are getting to see the golden age of the franchise. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Houston Astros closer Ryan Pressly practically snorts when the subject of redemption is brought up. With the Astros on the brink of their second world championship in six years, the idea that this title will clean up the sign stealing sins of the past has become something of a national media narrative.
Well, Ryan Pressly wants no part of that. None.
“We don’t really care what (general baseball) fans think,” Pressly says. “Everywhere we go, we get booed. So it’s Houston vs. all y’all.”
Pressly isn’t looking love from anyone but the Houston fans who stood by this team through it all if the Astros finish the deal against the Philadelphia Phillies in this World Series and win a second title. The closer seems to understand that those 2017 Astros — a team Pressly wasn’t even on — took the fall for an entire electronic sign stealing era of baseball in many ways.
One in which Major League Baseball has acknowledged that the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees definitely took part in too. And that’s just the teams with proven accusations against them and letters they fought to keep secret floating out there.
For Pressly, a Dallas native who found himself getting booed by association once the cheating charges against the Astros came out, the only things that matters is what a championship would mean to this Astros team and its beyond loyal Houston fans.
“It doesn’t get any better than that,” Pressly says when asked about the chance to clinch a championship at home in Minute Maid Park.
Pressly was an important piece of that 2019 Astros team that won a franchise record 107 games and lost in seven games to the Washington Nationals in the World Series. He thinks these 2022 Astros are better, more complete, less superstar dependent.
“This team is solid all the way around from one through nine,” Pressly says. “Starting pitching to the bullpen. As long as we don’t make any mistakes we like our chances. . .
“This team’s relentless. You don’t get the hit or RBI you want, you’ve still got a job to do out there in the field. And our guys do it.”
Pressly brings up Chas McCormick as an example of that Astros’ ethos. McCormick is more than annoyed after he strikes out in the top of the ninth inning with a chance to add to his team’s one run lead in Game 5. But he shakes off that disappointment and comes right back to make one of the greatest catches in World Series history to save the game (and Pressly) in the bottom of the ninth.
“He was upset when he came into the dugout,” Pressly says of McCormick. “But he took his aggression out there with that catch in right field.”
Ryan Pressly and the New Nasty Boys
Pressly loves those bounce back moments. And he doesn’t mind being painted as the villain either. In fact, he almost thrives off it. With his five out save in Game 5, he has now made nine appearances in these 2022 playoffs without giving up a single earned run.
And this closer has plenty of lights-out Astros company. Houston’s bullpen ERA in this postseason now sits at 0.88, the lowest mark since those Nasty Boy Cincinnati Reds of Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble and Randy Myers put up a 0.29 ERA to power Cincinnati to an unlikely championship in 1990.
Pressly is pumped about how beyond loud Minute Maid Park is for Game 6 on this Saturday night. But sometimes a little silence is sweet too. Especially when it overtakes the Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park after another guts-out Astros playoff win.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Pressly says of quieting an entire opposing stadium.
For this intense closer, it’s always been pretty simple. And nothing’s changed now. It’s still Houston vs. all y’all.