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Preview ALCS Game 6: Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros

Friday, October 22, 2021 • ALCS Game 6 • Minute Maid Park • Houston, TX
RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-1, 5.51) vs. Luis Garcia (0-1, 24.55)

BOSTON RED SOX NOTES

STATE OF THE SOX: The Red Sox trail the Astros in the ALCS, 3 games to 2…HOU won Games 1, 4, and 5. This is the 21st time an ALCS has lasted at least 6 games since the best-of-7 format began in 1985… In the previous 20 instances, the team leading 3-2 advanced to the World Series 15 times. 2 of those 5 teams to overcome a 3-games-to-2 deficit won Games 6 and 7 on the road: the 1985 Royals (at TOR) and 2004 Red Sox (at NYY).

TEAMS TO WIN ALCS AFTER TRAILING, 3-2 Winning Team Opponent Game 6/7 Location 1985 Royals Blue Jays Toronto 1986 Red Sox Angels Boston 2004 Red Sox Yankees New York 2007 Red Sox Indians Boston 2017 Astros Yankees Houston

GAME SIX: The Red Sox are 6-0 all time in Game 6 of the ALCS (1986, 2003, ‘04, ‘07, ‘08, ‘13). This is the 6th time the Sox have faced a 3-2 deficit in the ALCS…In each of the previous 5 instances, they forced a Game 7…In 3 of the 5, they won the series. The Sox previously faced a 3-games-to-2 deficit in the ALCS in 1986 vs. CAL (won series, 4-3), 2003 vs. NYY (lost, 4-3), 2004 vs. NYY (won, 4-3), 2007 vs. CLE (won, 4-3), and 2008 vs. TB (lost, 4-3).

WIN OR GO HOME: The Red Sox are 25-15 (.625) all time in the Postseason in potential elimination games, including 18-7 (.720) since the start of 1999. Prior to tonight, the Sox’ only other potential elimination game of the 2021 Postseason was the Wild Card Game vs. NYY (W, 6-2)…Their most recent loss in an elimination game came against the Astros in Game 4 of the 2017 ALDS at Fenway Park (L, 4-5).

ROAD WARRIORS: The Red Sox are 9-3 in their last 12 Postseason games on the road (7-1 in 2018, 2-2 in 2021).

WHERE WE LEFT OFF: The Red Sox and Astros were tied at 2 wins apiece before HOU won Game 5, 9-1. According to Elias, there were 18 instances prior to 2021 in which a best-of-7 LCS was tied at 2-2…The winner of Game 5 went on to win the series 14 times; the 4 exceptions were the 1987 Giants, 1991 Pirates, 2004 Astros, and 2017 Yankees. Only once prior to 2021 had the Sox lost Game 5 of an ALCS after being tied, 2-2 (2003 vs. NYY, lost series 4-3).

SOX IN THE ALCS: The Red Sox are making their 12th trip to the ALCS…They are 32-35 all time in the ALCS, including 21-13 in their last 34 games and 10-5 in their last 15. The Sox’ 7 trips to the ALCS since 2003 are tied with the Yankees for the most in that time. In 4 of their last 5 trips to the ALCS, the Sox went on to win the World Series (lost 2008 ALCS to the Rays).

DOWN, NOT OUT: The Red Sox began their season by getting swept in a 3-game series vs. BAL…They closed their season by sweeping a 3-game series at WSH. In their season finale on 10/3 at WSH, the Sox trailed 5-1 after 5 innings; they came back to win, 7-5. The Sox lost Game 1 of the ALDS, 5-0, then won the next 3 games…They lost Game 1 of the ALCS, 5-4, then came back to win Games 2 and 3.

IT’S NOT HOW YOU START: The Red Sox are the 31st team to reach the Postseason despite losing its first 3 games of the regular season…10 of those teams won a pennant, most recently the 2012 Giants and 1998 Yankees. 5 teams have won the World Series despite losing their first 3 games of the regular season: 1911 A’s, 1914 Braves, 1973 A’s, 1998 Yankees, and 2012 Giants.

PITCHING IN: Red Sox starters have thrown 5.0+ innings and allowed 3 ER or fewer in 4 straight games…That is their longest streak in a Postseason since the 2013 ALCS (G5-6) and World Series (G1-2). The Sox last had a longer streak in 2007, when their starters threw 5.0+ innings and allowed 3 ER or fewer in each of the club’s final 7 games. Sox starters have thrown 5.0+ innings 7 times this Postseason, including in 6 of the club’s last 7 games.

RED SOX’ LAST 7 STARTS
Game Starter Stats
ALDS-G3 vs. TB Eovaldi 5.0 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 8 SO
ALDS-G4 vs. TB Rodriguez 5.0 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 SO
ALCS-G1 at HOU Sale 2.2 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 SO
ALCS-G2 at HOU Eovaldi 5.1 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 SO
ALCS-G3 vs. HOU Rodriguez 6.0 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 SO
ALCS-G4 vs. HOU Pivetta 5.0 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 SO
ALCS-G5 vs. HOU Sale 5.1 IP, 4 R/2 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 SO
Totals: 3.67 ERA, 34.1 IP, 14 ER, 7 BB, 36 SO

NATHAN’S FAMOUS: The Red Sox are 5-0 in Nathan Eovaldi’s Postseason starts (2-0 in 2018, 3-0 in 2021)… This is the first time the Sox have ever won each of a pitcher’s first 5 Postseason starts for the club. The Yankees were the last AL team to win each of a pitcher’s first 6+ Postseason starts (Orlando Hernandez, 9 straight from 1998-2000). The Sox have never won 6 consecutive Postseason starts by a single pitcher…The only other Sox pitcher with a streak of 5 is Daisuke Matsuzaka.

EOVALDI’S POSTSEASON STARTS
Game Stats Result
2018 ALDS-G3 at NYY 7.0 IP, 1 R W, 16-1
2018 ALCS-G3 at HOU 6.0 IP, 2 R W, 8-2
2021 ALWC vs. NYY 5.1 IP, 1 R W, 6-2
2021 ALDS-G3 vs. TB 5.0 IP, 2 R W, 6-4
2021 ALCS-G2 at HOU 5.1 IP, 3 R W, 9-5
Totals: 4-0, 2.83 ERA (9 ER/28.2 IP), 4 BB, 28 SO

LEAD THE WAY: The Red Sox lost Games 4 and 5 of the ALCS, marking the first time Alex Cora lost consecutive Postseason games as a manager (had been 5-0 in games immediately following a loss). Cora is 17-7 (.708) as a manager in the Postseason (all with BOS)…He began his career 17-5, becoming the first manager to win at least 17 of his first 22 Postseason games (source: Elias).
Cora is 5-0 in potential Postseason series-clinching games…According to Elias, the only other managers to begin their careers with a streak that long are Terry Francona (6), Tony La Russa (5), and Casey Stengel (5).

WINNING WAYS: The Red Sox are 6-4 this Postseason… They are 23-15 (.605) since the start of September, including 17-9 (.654) in their last 26 games and 10-5 in their last 15. The Sox are 108-90-1 in 25 trips to the Postseason, including 17-7 since 2018…They are 1-0 in Wild Card Games and 23-15 in 38 series, having gone 8-6 in 14 trips to the ALDS (26-26 in games), 6-5 in the ALCS (32-35), and 9-4 in the World Series (49-29-1).

COMEBACK KIDS: The Red Sox came from behind to win Games 2 and 3 of the ALDS…During the regular season, they led the majors with 47 come-from-behind wins. The Sox’ largest deficit overcome to win a Postseason game is 7 runs (2008 ALCS-G5, trailed 0-7, won 8-7).

FINISHING TOUCH: Since the start of 2004, the Red Sox are 15-3 in potential clinching Postseason games…They have won each of their last 8 potential clinching games:

2013 ALDS-G4, 2013 ALCS-G6, 2013 WS-G6, 2018 ALDSG4, 2018 ALCS-G5, 2018 WS-G5, 2021 WC, 2021 ALDS-G4. Since 1986, the Sox are 8-1 in potential clinching Postseason games at Fenway Park (5-0 in last 5).

TONIGHT’S STARTING PITCHER

17-NATHAN EOVALDI, RHP 2-1, 5.51 ERA, 4 appearances (3 starts)

W-L ERA G GS IP ER HR BB SO AVG WHIP
2021 11-9 3.75 32 32 182.1 76 15 36 195 .253 1.19
CAREER 61-65 4.19 220 201 1148.1 534 119 336 957 .266 1.33
POSTSEASON 4-2 3.26 10 5 38.2 14 3 7 37 .200 0.93

Recent Trends: Pitched in relief in Game 5 of the ALCS and suffered his first loss of the postseason (0.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 SO).

Earned the win in Game 2 of the ALCS at HOU (5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 SO).

The Red Sox have won 10 of his last 11 starts (reg. season + Postseason).

Postseason: The Red Sox are 5-0 in his career Postseason starts (2-0 in 2018, 3-0 in 2021).

In 4 games (3 starts) this Postseason, he is 2-1 with a 5.51 ERA (16.1 IP, 10 ER, 4 BB, 21 SO).

Is 4-2 with a 3.26 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and .200 opponent AVG in 10 career Postseason
appearances (5 GS, 38.2 IP, 29 H, 14 ER, 7 BB, 37 SO).

Earned the win in the Wild Card Game vs. NYY (5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 8 SO)…Held NYY scoreless on 2 hits (both singles) through 5.0 IP  before allowing 1 run on 2 hits in the 6th.

Prior to Eovaldi, the last 2 Red Sox pitchers with 8+ SO and 0 BB in a Postseason game were David Price in Game 5 of the 2018 ALCS at HOU (6.0 IP, 9 SO) and John Lackey in Game 3 of the 2013 ALCS at DET (6.2 IP, 8 SO).

Made his Postseason debut in 2018, winning both of his starts and making 4 relief appearances…Posted a 1.61 ERA (4 ER/22.1 IP) with 16 SO and 3 BB.

In Game 3 of the 2018 World Series, threw 97 pitches over 6.0 IP of relief during the Sox’ 3-2 loss in 18 innings–the longest game in World Series history (3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, BB, 5 SO). vs. HOU: Is 1-2 with a 3.93 ERA (16 ER/36.2 IP) over 6 career regular season starts vs. HOU.

Earned a win in Game 3 of the 2018 ALCS at Minute Maid Park (6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 SO)…Also made a relief appearance in Game 5 (1.1 IP, H, SO).

Rankings: Led qualified AL pitchers in BB/9.0 IP (1.73), FIP (2.79), & GS (tied, 32)…Ranked 2nd in HR/9.0 IP (0.74) & SO/BB (5.57)…Ranked 4th in IP (182.1) & 7th in SO (195).

Led AL pitchers and ranked 6th among AL players (14th in MLB) in FanGraphs’ WAR (5.6).

2021 Highlights: Had a career-high 195 SO…His 11 wins, 32 starts, and 182.1 IP are all the 2nd-most of his career (33 GS & 199.2 IP in 2014 with MIA; 14 wins in 2015 with NYY).

Tossed at least 5.0 innings in 28 of his 32 starts, including 15 of his last 17. Is the Red Sox’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.

 

HOUSTON ASTROS NOTES:

TONIGHT’S GAME: After winning two of three in Boston, the Astros return to Minute Maid Park for Game 6 of the ALCS just one win shy of advancing to World Series…tonight’s pitching matchup is a rematch of Game 2 in which RHP Luis Garcia (5ER/1IP) lost to RHP Nathan Eovaldi (3ER/5.1IP) in the Red Sox 9-5 win in Houston.

ON THE BRINK: The Astros are one win away from advancing to their fourth World Series in franchise history, previously doing so in 2005, 2017 and 2019… results from those World Series appearances:

ASTROS WORLD SERIES APPS. RESULT
2005 Astros vs. White Sox White Sox in 4
2017 Astros vs. Dodgers Astros in 7
2019 Astros vs. Nationals Nationals in 7

LCS HISTORY: This marks the Astros fifth straight trip to the ALCS and their ninth appearance overall in a League Championship Series (1980, 1986, 2004-05, 2017-21)…they are the third team in MLB history to advance to five straight LCS (since 1969)…the other clubs to do so: the Braves (1991-99) and A’s (1971-75).

LAST FIVE ALCS MATCHUPS RESULT
2017 Astros vs. Yankees Astros in 7
2018 Astros vs. Red Sox Red Sox in 5
2019 Astros vs. Yankees Astros in 6
2020 Astros vs. Rays Rays in 7
2021 Astros vs. Red Sox —

WE MEET AGAIN: This is the third postseason series between the Astros and Red Sox (2017 ALDS, 2018 ALCS)…in their first, the Astros downed the Red Sox in 2017 in four games en route to their World Series title…the Red Sox returned the favor in 2018, downing the Astros in five games en route to their title.

TWO-OUT MAGIC: The Astros have scored 31 runs this series, scoring 23 of those 31 runs with two outs… overall this postseason, the Astros have plated 39 of their 62 runs with two outs.

THE PIVOTAL GAME 5: The Astros picked up a 9-1 win in Game 5 of the ALCS behind a strong pitching performance by LHP Framber Valdez (1ER/8IP) and a huge game by DH Yordan Alvarez (3×5, HR, 3 RBI)… Valdez took a no-hitter into the 5th and allowed just
three hits and a walk in his magical performance…1B Yuli Gurriel (3×5, 3 RBI) and CF Jose Siri (1×5, 2
RBI) chipped in with multi-RBI games.

ONE FOR THE AGES: In Game 5, LHP Framber Valdez became just the fourth Astros pitcher since 2000 to toss 8.0-plus innings in a postseason game, joining RHP Gerrit Cole (8IP, 2019 ALDS Game 5), RHP Justin Verlander (9IP, 2017 ALCS Game 2) and RHP Brandon Backe (8IP, 2004 NLCS Game 5

THE LONG BALL: The Astros (8) and Red Sox (11) have combined to hit 19 home runs this series… the Astros now have hit 12 homers this postseason, homering at least once in all nine of their contests.

AIR YORDAN: DH Yordan Alvarez had a huge game in Game 5, going 3×5 with a double, homer and three RBI and is now hitting .421 (8×19) on the series… his three hits in Game 5 all came off Red Sox starter LHP Chris Sale, becoming the fourth left-handed hitter
in Sale’s 11-year career to record three hits off him in the same game, joining DH David Ortiz (2015), 1B Eric Hosmer (2015) and OF Nori Aoki (2014) (per MLB’s Sarah Langs).

PIÑA POWER: 1B Yuli Gurriel, the reigning AL batting champ, is having a stellar ALCS, hitting .474 (9×19) with a double, a homer and six RBI…he’s hit safely in all five games this series, including multi-hit games in three of the five contests…with his performance this postseason, Gurriel has extended his leads among all Cuban-born players in career postseason hits (63), RBI (33) and games played (66).

COMING UP BIG: In Game 4, 2B Jose Altuve hit his 21st career postseason homer, which ranks third all time in MLB postseason history…Altuve also ranks fifth in MLB postseason history in runs (64), tied for sixth in extra-base hits (35) and tied for ninth in RBI (47).

ALL-TIME POSTSEASON HOME RUNS IN MLB HISTORY
1. Manny Ramirez 29 HR in 111 games
2. Bernie Williams 22 HR in 121 games
3. Jose Altuve 21 HR in 72 games
4. Derek Jeter 20 HR in 158 games

THE HOT CORNER: 3B Alex Bregman has 12 career postseason homers, which ranks second in MLB history by a third baseman, trailing only 3B Justin Turner (13)…of Bregman’s 12 career postseason homers, 11 have come against former All-Stars or pitchers to eventually be selected to an All-Star Team.

 

TONIGHT’S ASTROS STARTER: RHP LUIS GARCIA

W-L ERA G GS IP H R ER BB SO
2021: 11-8 3.48 30 28 155.1 132 62 60 50 167
CAREER: 11-9 3.44 35 29 167.2 139 66 64 55 176
vs. BOS W-L ERA G GS IP H R ER BB SO
2021: 1-0 1.29 1 1 7.0 5 1 1 1 6
CAREER: 1-0 1.29 1 1 7.0 5 1 1 1 6

 

Career Complete Games: none Last CG: —
Career Shutouts: none Last SHO: —

CAREER MLB GAME-HIGHS: 2021 GAME-HIGHS:
Strikeouts: 9, 7/26/21 at SEA 9, 7/26 at SEA
Walks: 3 (6x), last, 9/16 at TEX 3 (5x), last, 9/16 at TEX
Hits: 8 (2x), last, 9/11/21 vs. LAA 8 (2x), last, 9/11 vs. LAA
Earned Runs: 5 (2x), last, 8/1/21 at SF 5 (2x), last, 8/1 at SF
Innings Pitched: 7.0 (2x), 6/18/21 vs. CWS 7.0 (2x), 6/18 vs. CWS
Low-Hit CG: none

CAREER MLB SPLITS:
Home/MMP: 6-6, 2.58 ERA, 16G/13GS, 23ER/80.1IP
Away: 5-3, 3.92 ERA, 19G/16GS, 38ER/87.1IP
Postseason: 0-1, 15.88 ERA, 3G/GS, 10ER/5.2IP
Day: 2-3, 4.32 ERA, 8G/6GS, 16ER/33.1IP
Night: 9-6, 3.01 ERA, 27G/23GS, 45ER/134.1IP
Longest Winning Streak: 5, 5/15/21-6/6/21
Longest Losing Streak: 4, 9/18/20-4/29/21

2021 SPLITS:
Home: 6-5, 2.39 ERA, 15G/13GS, 21ER/79IP
Away: 5-3, 4.24 ERA, 15G/GS, 36ER/76.1P
Day: 2-3, 4.36 ERA, 7G/6GS, 16ER/33IP
Night: 9-5, 3.02 ERA, 23G/22GS, 41ER/122.1IP
Longest Winning Streak: 5, 5/15-6/6
Longest Losing Streak: 3, 4/20-4/29

LAST START – 10/16 ALCS GAME 2 vs. BOS: allowed 5 runs on 2 hits with 2 strikeouts in 1.0 inning…left the game due to right knee discomfort.

ABOUT GARCIA: rookie second-year starter entered the season ranked as the Astros No. 6 prospect…made 30 appearances (28  starts) this season…allowed 3 runs or fewer runs in 22 of his 28 starts this season. • among Astros pitchers, ranked 2nd in strikeouts (167), T-2nd in starts (28) and 3rd in innings (155.1). • with 155.1 innings pitched this season, set a career high in innings…his previous high was 108.2, reached in the minors in 2019. • in his MLB career, he’s posted a WHIP of 1.16, a .226 opponent batting average, a .677 opponent OPS and has allowed 139 hits in 167.2 innings. • really stymied right-handed hitters this season, holding them to a .182 (52×286) average and a .548 OPS. • was one of the best rookie pitchers in the AL this season, as he led all AL rookie pitchers in WAR (3.0), wins (11), innings (155.1) and strikeouts (167)…among AL rookies with 100+ IP on the season, Garcia ranked 2nd in ERA (3.30), 3rd in opponent average (.230) and 3rd in WHIP (1.17)… among all AL rookies, he ranked 3rd in WAR (STATS).

IN CLUB HISTORY: putting together one of the best rookie seasons in club history…with 11 wins this season, he became the 8th rookie in Astros history to post an 11-win season and the first since RHP Collin McHugh also won 11 games for the Astros in 2014. • among rookie pitchers in club history to pitch at least 125 innings in a  season, Garcia ranked 1st in strikeouts per 9.0 (9.68), 5th in WHIP (1.17) and 6th in opponent batting average (.230). • his 167 strikeouts ranked 2nd in club history in a single season by a rookie, trailing only RHP Tom Griffin (200 K in 1969).

THE STREAK: won 5 consecutive starts from May 15-June 6, which tied as the longest winning streak by an Astro this season (also, McCullers Jr.). \• the last Astros rookie starter with a 5+ game winning streak was Collin McHugh, who won 7 straight decisions in his rookie season of 2014.

PITCHING ARSENAL: his cutter was one of his best pitches this season and one of the best pitches in baseball…threw it 22.5% of the time…opponents went 28×160 (.175) with 65 strikeouts against the pitch. vs. BOS: has faced the Red Sox just once during his regular season career on June 1, 2021 at Minute Maid Park…he tossed 7.0 innings allowed just 1 run on 5 hits with 6 strikeouts.

IN THE POSTSEASON: has made 3 career starts in the postseason, which came in a start in Game 5 of 2020 ALCS vs. TB, Game 3 of the 2021 ALDS at CWS and Game 2 of the ALCS vs. BOS…he’s recorded a 15.88 ERA (10ER/5.2IP) with 6 strikeouts.

GARCIA’S 2020: is coming off a season that saw his stock rise from a relatively unknown minor leaguer to the club’s No. 6 prospect, per MLB.com… after pitching in A ball in 2019, Garcia impressed so much at the club’s ATS last summer that he ended up debuting for the Astros in September and eventually making a postseason start for the club.

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