We’re all knotted up and a game apiece as the ALCS shifts to Fenway Park tonight in Boston with the Red Sox seemingly carrying the momentum into this one following a 9-5 Game 2 victory in enemy territory.
Momentum in baseball is only as good as the next game’s pitching, however, so let’s see what’s in store tonight with an Astros vs. Red Sox ALCS Game 3 Pick!
Astros vs. Red Sox Betting Odds
*Odds courtesy of BetOnline
|Astros||-101||+1.5 (-190)||Over 9 (-124)|
|Red Sox||-109||-1.5 (+165)||Under 9 (+104)|
Astros vs. Red Sox Starting Pitching Breakdown
The Astros’ starting pitching situation in Game 2 was disastrous as Luis Garcia surrendered a first-inning grand slam before exiting with a knee injury. Matters got worse when projected Game 3 starter Jake Odorizzi came in and gave up a grand slam of his own as the damage was already done in that Game 2 defeat.
Looking to provide his club with a bounce-back effort tonight is right-hander Jose Urquidy who enjoyed another quality season for an Astros rotation that needed length.
The 26-year-old turned in a 3.62 ERA/4.14 FIP on the season, using elite control by way of a 1.63 BB/9 in keeping runners off base. He did deal with some home run issues with a 1.43 HR/9 on the season thanks to a rather large 45.6% fly-ball rate in conjunction with a 9.3% barrel rate that ranked in the league’s 22nd percentile, as per Statcast.
Despite having pitched just 177.2 career regular-season big-league innings across 34 appearances (32 starts), this marks Urquidy’s third trip to the postseason. Across the first 25.2 innings of his postseason career, he’s pitched to a 2.81 ERA, although much of that comes from a dominant 2019 playoff. In 2020, he pitched 15.2 innings of seven-run ball, good for a solid 4.14 ERA in the process.
This marks his first appearance this postseason, and it comes at a crucial time when the Astros do not want to fall behind 2-1 in Boston with two more games remaining at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox offense gave Nathan Eovaldi plenty of early run support in Game 2, and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be looking for more of the same in this one tonight.
Rodriguez had an up-and-down season but finished as one of the most unlucky pitchers in the sport. He posted a 4.74 ERA on the season, but also a quality 3.32 FIP, 3.55 xERA, 3.43 xFIP and 3.64 SIERA. Rodriguez posted strikeouts rates (10.56 K/9) and walk rates (2.68 BB/9) that ranked in the league’s 76th and 70th percentile, respectively, and allowed home runs at just a 1.08 HR/09 as well.
He also ranked in the league’s 87th percentile in hard-hit rate, 90th in average exit velocity and 63rd in barrel rate, yet yielded an ERA approaching 5.00.
It would appear much of the poor fortune came at Fenway Park. Rodriguez turned in a 5.95 ERA at home this season despite also working to a 3.25 FIP, 3.54 xFIP, 11.32 K/9, 2.76 BB/9 and 1.16 HR/9. His 4.11 K/BB at home bested his 3.82 mark on the road yet the ERA was much higher at home.
The postseason has not been his friend, however, as the left-hander owns a 7.02 ERA across 16.2 postseason frames. He began this postseason by last just 1.2 innings while yielding two earned runs and two walks in Game 1 of the ALDS series with the Rays, but followed that up with five innings of two-run ball while allowing just three hits and no walks against six strikeouts in the series-clinching Game 4.
Offense and Bullpen Notes
The Astros’ offense absolutely crushed White Sox pitching in the ALDS, coming up with clutch hit after clutch hit and extending innings in frustrating fashion for White Sox fans.
While the offense has been quieter in this series, it’s not exactly quiet by definition. They’ve scored five runs in each of the first two games of this series, and the mountain was just too tall to climb in Game 2 despite making it somewhat interesting later in the contest.
A key to the overall success of this offense in 2021 was their ability to hit about equally both at home and on the road. At home, they ranked seventh with a .338 wOBA and 12th with a .179 ISO, but also ranked first in baseball with a .335 wOBA on the road and ninth with a .176 ISO.
They were also similar against lefties and righties, ranking fourth with a .338 wOBA off lefties who they hit for a .178 ISO, good for a share of fifth league wide.
While Odorizzi was technically a reliever in Game 2 and surrendered five runs, the true Astros’ bullpen has been quite good this season despite a regular season that saw them however right around the middle of the pack with a 4.06 ERA including a 4.02 mark in the season’s second half following some trade-deadline acquisitions.
True Astros relievers combined to throw four innings of shutout ball in Game 2 after yielding just one run across 5.1 innings in Game 1, so this group has been pretty formidable top-to-bottom in these playoffs and of late.
While the Astros bats received plenty of attention in their ALDS win over the White Sox, these Red Sox bats have been rolling since getting shutout in Game 1 of their ALDS matchup with Tampa.
They would score 26 runs over the final three games of that series before combining for 13 runs through two games in the ALCS. Add it up and that’s 39 runs in a five-game span, good for a cool 7.8 runs per game, scoring at least six runs in four of those five games and at least nine in two of the five.
— MLB (@MLB) October 16, 2021
If the regular season was any indication, that trend could very well continue into this one tonight. After all, the Red Sox were the best home offense in baseball this season as per their league-leading .354 wOBA while their .200 ISO at Fenway checked in at fourth.
Against righties such as Urquidy at home, the Sox tied for first with a .359 wOBA and tied for second with a .213 ISO, so they appear to be in a good spot to keep raking at the dish tonight.
Their bullpen hasn’t been as steady as their opponent, however. Game 2 got mildly interesting with a couple of solo homers in the ninth to cut the lead to 9-5, and Red Sox relievers also surrendered four runs in 4.1 innings of work in Game 1. three different Red Sox relievers surrendered at least one run in Game 1.
It’s a group that started hot before scuffling as the season went along, eventually finishing 13th with a solid 3.99 ERA. Their closer for much of the year in Matt Barnes isn’t even on the ALCS roster and a couple of relievers they rely heavily on in Tanner Houck and Hansel Robles allowed runs in Game 1.
We’ll see if they can contain a dangerous Astros lineup tonight.
- Astros are 4-0 in their last four games following a loss
- Astros are 58-19 following an off day
- Over is 5-0 in the Astros last five games overall
- Over is 4-0 in the Astros’ last four games against a left-handed starter
- Red Sox are 6-0 in their last six home playoff games
- Red Sox are 7-0 in their last seven games against a right-handed starter
- Over is 5-0 in the Red Sox last five overall
- Over is 13-2-1 in the Red Sox last 16 home games against a right-handed starter
Head to Head
- Astros are 5-2 in the last seven meetings
- Astros are 5-1 ATS in their last six games in Boston
- Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings
Astros vs. Red Sox MLB Pick
These two teams are quite evenly matched from a variety of angles, but I like the Red Sox to continue their home dominance in this one tonight.
Perhaps some positive regression at home kicked in for Rodriguez in Game of that ALDS with the Rays as the Sox would surely take five more innings of two-run ball from the southpaw in this one tonight. While they were five games over .500 at 43-38 on the road this season, Boston largely took care of business at home with a 49-32 regular-season record at Fenway.
For what it’s worth, the Astros were 44-37 on the road compared to 51-30 at home this season.
The Red Sox offense is at its best at home when facing right-handed pitching and while the Astros hit well on the road, I think the baseball gods owe E-Rod some more home cookin’ after they dealt him a poor hand at Fenway for much of the season.
I have the Red Sox winning this series 4-1 according to my ALCS Series Preview, and based that on a split in Houston and a clean three-game sweep at Fenway before the series could even return to Minute Maid Park.
I’ll stand by that projection, so give me the Red Sox on the moneyline tonight.