HOUSTON – Much of the responsibility that the Houston Astros come out with at least one home win heading to Atlanta will lie with Jose Urquidy.
The Mexican pitcher was confirmed as the starter for Game 2 of the World Series, which began Tuesday with a 6-2 win by the Atlanta Braves over the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Urquidy started Game 3 of the Championship Series, but barely held in innings and two-thirds, before being relieved with five hits and an equal number of earned runs on his account. It was his first start of the postseason and since the last day of the regular season.
“Only the quality that we know can bring,” Astros manager Dusty Baker responded when asked what he expected from Urquidy in his second playoff start. “He was close to coming out of that first inning with a run in Boston … Who knows how far he could have pitched after that.”
“We have great confidence in Urquidy,” he added. “This boy has been here many times. You are not new to this. It has been here. I just need to see quality ”.
Urquidy will have his personal rematch of this same postseason. But more importantly, he will have the opportunity to match the series and give an extra day of rest to Luis García, who will open the third in the series; first in Atlanta.
“In that game I was a little nervous in the first inning,” Urquidy acknowledged. “Now we are really prepared, focused on the job at hand. More than anything, enjoying the moment and the World Series experience. I’m doing everything I can to be ready for tomorrow’s game (Wednesday) ”.
“Right now I am very happy to compete and excited to launch tomorrow,” he added. “I will enjoy the whole game and try to be more focused this time.”
Urquidy certainly came out of Major League anonymity when he appeared in Game 4 of the 2019 World Series against the Washington Nationals. He pitched five innings as a two-hitter, no runs, four strikeouts and no bases.
“That time little by little I began to feel more confident in myself,” he recalled. “(Robinson) Chirinos was the catcher that day and he was talking to me about running the game, concentrating and being focused on my pitches.”
“But that was left behind,” he added. “Now I have to focus on my job and tomorrow’s game.”
Urquidy could become the first Mexican with three World Series starts on Wednesday.
“I thank God that I am on a team that is so talented, that I have been able to be in another World Series in my career,” Urquidy said. “I’m very motivated. It will be super exciting to make history together with my team. But the most important thing is to give my teammates the opportunity to win ”.
LUIS GARCÍA WILL OPEN THE ROOM
Manager Dusty Baker confirmed that rookie Luis Garcia will start Game 3 of the Fall Classic for the Astros when the series moves to Atlanta.
Garcia started the sixth and final game of the championship series last Friday when he looked huge with a one-hitter in six full innings. He went into that inning without allowing a hit.
When he opens in Atlanta, it will be nearly a week after he last pitched, although manager Dusty Baker denied his goal was to give him more rest from the usual rotation.
“Actually the main focus was to avoid so much time between Urquidy starts,” Baker explained. “Urquidy already had two weeks once and then 10 days since the last time he pitched. Some time ago someone told me that pitchers rust if you don’t use them… ”.
MARWIN ACTIVATED FOR VERSATILE
Astros manager Dusty Baker said the decision to put Marwin Gonzalez on the World Series roster was directly related to outfielder Jake Meyers’ injury and his ambidextrous hitting ability.
González was part of the 2017 champion team of the Astros, for which he played from 2012 to 2019, before going to the Minnesota Twins for a couple of seasons and starting the current one with the Boston Red Sox, who cut him in August; days later he signed again with Houston.
“Marwin gives me positional flexibility and has World Series experience,” Baker explained. “So you know he won’t be scared when he has to get into some certain situations.”
PLAN TO PLAY OPEN ROOF
The roof of Minute Maid Park was closed in the opening game of the World Series due to the high humidity and rain that fell during the afternoon / night in the downtown Houston area.
But the plan is to have it open for the second game, this Wednesday. If so, it will be the first playoff game with the playing field uncovered since the 2005 championship series precisely against the Braves, when the Astros were part of the National League.