Boston bats abuse Houston starters, now it’s Mexican Urquidy’s turn

Boston bats abuse Houston starters, now it's Mexican Urquidy's turn

BOSTON – Álex Cora acknowledged that it was difficult to think if his team could play better than the two most recent games in the main phases of the game: batting, pitching and defense.

And the manager accepted that the question was difficult, but that they were playing good baseball in all aspects, including also the base run, communication and all the little details that have resulted in two categorical victories over the Houston Astros.

But it will also have to be evaluated if it has been combined with the worst pitching display of the Astros in good time, particularly the starter, although the relief is not far behind in the American League Championship Series.

The Boston Red Sox won Game 3 12-3 in front of their crowd, who put pressure on their opponents like seldom seen in every play of the game. The Red Sox triumphed over a similar one; abusing starters and punishing relievers in front of them.

“On offense, it’s the best we’ve been all season,” Cora told a news conference. “Like I’ve said before, right now it’s not about hitting 30 home runs and producing 100 runs. It’s about winning four games and the guys have done their best in the batter’s box to do it.”

Cora is right, but at the rate they are going and if the series had more game, we would have to see what would happen and how far their batters would go.

Tonight, they took out the Mexican starter, José Urquidy with just one inning and two-thirds of work, in which the Red Sox scored six runs, five earned, starring a grand slam by Kyle Schwarber, to add three home runs with a full house in the two most recent games; just the second team to do so in major league history in the postseason.

“I wasn’t even thinking about the home run,” Schwarber said. “I just wanted to put it in the air to bring home even one (run). I didn’t want to swing late so I wouldn’t fly into the infield. But I hit the ball well.”

From there, Boston was already leading 6-0 before reaching the third inning because before Christian Vázquez and Christian Arroyo, the last two batters in the lineup, had produced a leading run, and because José Altuve made a mistake, which might have taken the blank entry for the Astros.

Later, of the five relievers that entered for Houston, only Blake Taylor did not allow a run on a Boston offense that ended with another three home runs added to that of Schwarber, Arroyo, JD Martinez and Rafael Devers.

“The guys are controlling and disciplined at the plate,” Cora said. “There were really good at-bats.”

The rest was handled by Eduardo Rodriguez’s starting pitching, giving them six quality innings, including five hits, including Kyle Tucker’s three-run homer in the fourth inning, to put the score at 9-3 at the time.

Rodriguez struck out seven, without giving away bases, established his pitches with authority and helped Cora only have to use three relievers, which aren’t his best arms in the bullpen, either.

“He was amazing, setting up his fastball, good change in speed, cutter and pace,” explained Cora. “He didn’t give away bases, he made them earn them and the fact that he pitched six innings was very important to us.”

So Cora remains undefeated on his birthday since he has been manager of the Red Sox and, more importantly, is already halfway to the World Series, although he knows that perhaps it will be the most difficult half.

“Yes, 3-0 and counting,” he said in reference to having won the playoffs on his birthday. “But we still hope for a better celebration. We have won three games against a very good team and we have already won two.”

This Tuesday, for the fourth of the series, Cora confirmed Nick Pivetta for his first start of this postseason, while for the Astros, former Cy Young Trophy winner Zack Greinke will finally start his first game of the current playoffs.

“We believe in Greinke,” Houston manager Dusty Baker responded before Monday’s game, when asked about his availability for the Championship Series, after he has only pitched one inning in the Division Series, when the game is already he was lost to the Chicago White Sox.

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