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Preview: ALCS Game 3 – Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox

Friday, October 15th 5-4 HOU Ryne Stanek Hansel Robles Ryan Pressly 40,534
Saturday, October 16th 9-5 BOS Nathan Eovaldi Luis Garcia — 41,476

ALCS ACTION: The 2021 rendition marks the 52nd American League Championship Series since divisional play began in 1969, when  Baltimore and Minnesota met in what was then a best-of-five series. This marks the 36th year of a best-of-seven format for the ALCS. It is the second time in four years that the Astros and Red Sox have met in the ALCS, following Boston’s 4-games-to-1 win over Houston in 2018. The Red Sox would go on to ultimately win the World Series that season.

GAME 3 IMPORTANCE: This marks the 24th time in 52 ALCS that the series has been tied at 1-1 after two games. In those 23 previous series, the team that won Game 3 went on to win the ALCS 18 times (78%).

BEEN HERE BEFORE: Following Saturday’s win, the Red Sox find themselves tied at 1-1 in the ALCS for the seventh time (also: 2018  vs. Houston; 2013 vs. Detroit; 2008 vs. Tampa Bay; 2007 vs. Cleveland; 2003 vs. NY Yankees; and 1986 vs. California). They will look to match their efforts from 2007, 2013 and 2018 when they went on to win the series and advance to the Fall Classic. Following their Game 2 loss, the Astros are knotted up at 1-1 in the ALCS for the third time in team history. In 2019 against the New York Yankees, Houston won Game 3 and would go on to win the series, while in the previous year, the Astros lost Game 3 and would go on to lose the ALCS to the Red Sox.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Since the Astros joined the American League in 2013, Houston and Boston have each won 27 games in their 54  regular season matchups. The Astros held the advantage during the 2021 season, going 5-2 over seven games. In addition to their aforementioned 2018 ALCS, the Clubs battled in the 2017 ALDS with the Astros advancing after a 3-games-to-1 win over the Red Sox. Houston continued on to win the 2017 Fall Classic.

THE MANAGERS: Alex Cora is making his second ALCS appearance (also 2018) in his third full season as a Major League manager. Overall, Boston has compiled a 284-202 (.584) record with Cora at the helm. He is the sixth manager to lead the Red Sox to multiple Postseasons, joining Bill Carrigan (1915-16), Joe Morgan (1988, 1990), Jimy Williams (1998-99), Terry Francona (2004-05, 2007-09) and John Farrell (2013, 2016-17). Following Boston’s win on Saturday, the Red Sox skipper has 16 wins in 21 career Postseason games as manager, tied with Earl Weaver for the most wins in a manager’s first 21 Postseason games. In addition, Cora finished  second in AL Manager of the Year voting after posting a 108-54 (.667) record as a rookie manager in 2018 with the Red Sox. Cora also managed the 2019 AL All-Star team after guiding the Club to the 2018 World Championship. Dusty Baker finished his second full season with the Astros, marking his 24th season as a Major League manager (also: the San Francisco Giants, 1993-2002; the Chicago Cubs, 2003-06; the Cincinnati Reds, 2008-13; and the Washington Nationals, 2016-17). Across two campaigns, Baker’s Astros have posted a 124-98 (.559) record. Dusty is a three-time NL Manager of the Year winner (1993, 1997, 2000) and led the 2003 NL All-Star squad. Overall, he has managed Clubs to a combined 1,987-1,734 (.534) regular season record. Baker’s 35 Postseason wins at the helm rank ninth-most in Baseball history, and he is the only manager in MLB history to win division titles with five different Clubs (Astros, Nationals, Reds, Cubs, Giants).


UMPIRES: Bill Miller is the crew chief for the 2021 ALCS, which marks the eighth League Championship Series assignment of his  career and his first since the 2019 NLCS, when he was also crew chief. Game 3 Assignments: HP: Bill Miller 1B: Dan Iassogna 2B: Jim Wolf 3B: Alan Porter LF: David Rackley RF: Rob Drake Reserve: Laz Diaz

FAMILIAR TERRITORY: The Houston Astros are appearing in their fifth consecutive ALCS, having advanced to the World Series in 2017 and 2019. The Astros became just the second team in history to appear in five straight ALCS, joining the 1971-75 Oakland Athletics. Overall, they became the third team to reach five consecutive League Championship Series, also joining the Atlanta Braves, who reached eight straight NLCS from 1991-99. Including their time in the National League, this marks the Club’s eighth appearance in the LCS, accomplishing the feat in 1980, 2004 and 2005.

FAMILIAR TERRITORY PART TWO: The Boston Red Sox are appearing in their seventh ALCS since 2003 (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2018), tied with the New York Yankees for the most during that span. Since the first League Championship Series was played in 1969, the Red Sox have compiled a 6-5 series record, including a 30-32 overall mark in games. Boston’s 30 victories rank second among AL Clubs, trailing only the Yankees’ 50 wins. SLAM SOX: The Red Sox became the first team in MLB Postseason history to record multiple grand slams in a single contest in Game 2. It marked just the second game in Postseason history to feature multiple grand slams overall, previously done by the Atlanta Braves and Astros in Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS. The early barrage also marked the
sixth game in MLB history in which a Club posted multiple grand slams in the first two frames of a game, previously done on May 2, 2021 by the Dodgers; August 7, 1984 by the Red Sox; April 12, 1980 by the Brewers; July 18, 1962 by the Twins; and May 9, 1961 by the Orioles. Following J.D. Martinez’s first-inning slam, he had logged 28 RBI through his first 26 career Postseason games, the second-most through a player’s first 26 playoff games behind only Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig (32). Rafael Devers supplied the second grand slam and became the third player in Boston’s Postseason history to record at least nine hits and 10 RBI across six games in a single season, joining David Ortiz (2004) and John Valentin (1999).

A HISTORIC RUN: Boston’s Kiké Hernández logged another home run in Game 2 while recording a multi-hit effort. Over his last five  games dating back to Game 2 of the ALDS, he has notched eight runs scored, 15 hits, four doubles, five home runs and nine RBI. Hernández’s 15 hits, nine extra-base hits and 34 total bases are all MLB records for a five-game span in the Postseason. His five round-trippers over his last five games trail only Giancarlo Stanton (2020) and Carlos Beltrán (2004) for the most in Postseason history over a five-game span, with both sluggers clubbing six homers. Kiké has already matched the franchise record for home runs in a single Postseason, shared by David Ortiz (2004 and 2013) and Todd Walker (2003).

DOUBLE-DIGIT KNOCKS: The Red Sox registered 11 hits in their victory on Monday, which marked the fifth consecutive game in  which Boston tallied 10-or-more hits. That matches the longest such streak in Postseason history, previously accomplished by the 2004 Astros; the 2002 Angels; and the 1989 Cubs.

THESE STROS CAN SCORE: The Astros have scored at least five runs in each of their six Postseason games played this year. That represents the second-longest streak to begin a playoff run in MLB Postseason history, trailing only the 1987 Minnesota Twins, who posted a seven-game streak to begin the Postseason. The six-game streak is tied for the fifth-longest overall in Postseason history, trailing Baltimore’s nine-game streak from October 11, 1970 – October 11, 1971; the Yankees’ eight-game streak from October 31, 2009 – October 15, 2010; the Yankees’ seven-game streak from October 5, 1928 – October 2, 1932; and Minnesota’s aforementioned streak from October 7-18, 1987.

MILESTONE WATCH: Houston’s Jose Altuve enters tonight’s Game 3 with 20 career Postseason home runs, tied for third-most in MLB Postseason history with Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. Manny Ramirez holds the all-time record with 29 round-trippers while Bernie Williams (22) ranks second. Altuve’s double-play partner Carlos Correa recorded his 18th Postseason round-tripper, and his fourth career go-ahead homer in the seventh inning-or-later, the most in MLB Postseason history. Correa’s 18 playoff home runs rank tied for seventh in Major League history.

THIS DATE IN ALCS HISTORY: In 2004, again facing elimination, the Boston Red Sox staged another comeback and grabbed a Game 5 win over the Yankees on an RBI-single by David Ortiz in the 14th inning to triumph, 5-4. It marked just the third time in ALCS history that teams played extra-inning games on consecutive days. At five hours \and forty-nine minutes, it marked the longest contest in League Championship Series history.


Game 2 Starting Pitchers
José Urquidy (HOU) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS)
• In the midst of his third Major League season, all with the Houston Astros (2019-21).

• Made 20 starts during the 2021 campaign, compiling an 8-3 with 90 strikeouts, 19 walks, 87 hits and a 3.62 ERA over 107.0 innings pitched.

• Made six starts in the second half of the season for Houston, collecting a victory in both decisions to go along with 24 punchouts and six walks over six starts. • Is making his 2021 Postseason debut tonight. For his career, has gone 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA and 24:8 strikeout-to-walk ratio across eight career Postseason outings (four starts).

• Earned his first career Postseason victory after tossing 5.0 scoreless innings in Game 4 of the 2019 World Series. Permitting just two hits and did not allow a walk during the performance. Became the fourth hurler in World Series history to log at least 5.0 innings without surrendering more than two baserunners while younger than 25-years-old, joining Walker Buehler (2018 G3), Andy Hawkins (1984 G2) and Rick Rhoden (1977 G4).

• Made one start against the Red Sox during the regular season, tossing 6.0 innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts and just one walk. Permitted just three hits en route to earning the victory.

• Tonight marks Urquidy’s first career start at the historic Fenway Park. Across17 career road starts, has delivered a 5-4 record with a 3.80 ERA and 3.09 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

• Boston’s Danny Santana has logged the most at-bats against Urquidy, going 0-for-5 (.000). Xander Bogaerts is 0-for-3 (.000); Kiké Hernández is 0-for-3 (.000); J.D. Martinez is 0-for-2 (.000); Alex Verdugo is 1-for-3 (.333) with a double and RBI; Rafael Devers is 0-for-2 (.000); Hunter Renfroe is 1-for-2 (.500) with a double; and Christian Vázquez is 1-for-2 (.500) with a double.

• In the midst of his sixth Major League season, all with the Boston Red Sox (2015-19, 2021).

• Made 31 starts (32) appearances during the 2021 regular season, posting a 13-8 record with 185 strikeouts, 47 walks, 172 hits and a 4.74 ERA over 157.2 innings pitched.

• Was strong down the stretch for the Red Sox, going 2-0 with a 2.11 ERA and 26 strikeouts across 21.1 innings and his final four starts (five appearances) of the season. Earned the win in Boston’s Postseason-clinching final game on Sunday, October 3rd over the Washington Nationals.

• Started Boston’s clinching Game 4 over the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, tossing 5.0 innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts while not allowing a free pass.

• Has made 10 career Postseason appearances (three starts) for the Red Sox, posting a 7.02 ERA across 16.2 innings of work.

• Made a pair of starts against the Astros during the regular season, losing his lone decision while allowing 12 runs over 9.1 innings.

• For his career at Fenway Park, has compiled a 28-18 record with a 4.30 ERA, 435 punchouts and 141 walks across 78 career games (74 starts).

• Including the Postseason, Jose Altuve has recorded the most at-bats against Rodriguez, going 5-for-13 (.385) with a double, home run and two RBI. Alex Bregman is 5-for-12 (.417) with a double, two home runs and three RBI; Aledmys Díaz is 3-for-12 (.250); Carlos Correa is 6-for-10 (.600) with a double and RBI; Martín Maldonado is 2-for-9 (.222) with a home run and RBI; Jason Castro is 0-for-8 (.000); Yuli Gurriel is 2-for-8 (.250) with a home run and RBI; Michael Brantley is 1-for-6 (.167) with a home run and RBI; Marwin Gonzalez is 4-for-4 (1.000) with a double and three RBI; Kyle Tucker is 1-for-4 (.250); Yordan Álvarez is 1-for-2 (.500) with a double and two RBI; and Chas McCormick is 0-for-2 (.000).

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