Game 3 of the ALDS: Critical one for both teams

Excuse the brevity of this post, but your faithful writer is about to head out to the Hill Country to see family we have not seen in months.

Game 3 of the ALDS this afternoon between the Astros and A’s is (Duh) critical for the A’s, who must win or head home for the off-season. But frankly, at this point, it is critical for the Astros, too even though they are up 2-0 in the best of five series.

The biggest reason is that the Astros have Jose Urquidy starting the third game and have the TBD twins scheduled for the fourth and fifth games of the series if needed. The news that Zack Greinke is experiencing elbow soreness is a terrible blow to the rotation at this point, especially with no off days for the ALDS and ALCS. After seeing elbow soreness take down Justin Verlander, Roberto Osuna, Brad Peacock and Chris Devenski to date, this is another tough injury for a staff that has been playing “next man up” all season long.

The best-case scenario is the Astros finish the sweep of the A’s, Greinke’s soreness goes away, and the pitchers are well-rested when they take on the Yankees or Rays in the next round. The worst-case scenario has the Astros losing the third game and have early starting pitching failure in games 4 and 5 exposing a very young bullpen.

At this point, it would be the best guess that the Astros would have Cristian Javier, who pitched one inning of relief in the first game of the ALDS start the fourth game and then have Luis Garcia take a shot at an all hands on deck fifth game or bring back Lance McCullers on short rest.

There are plus sides to the Astros situation. The offense after sweeping the Twins and rolling through the first two games of the ALDS has seemed to get back a bit of its swagger, behind Carlos Correa (3 for 8, 2 HRs and 5 RBIs) and George Springer (6 for 9, 2 HRs and 4 RBIs). On top of that Jose Urquidy has been very good ever since returning from the IL in early September and has been excellent (1.26 ERA in 5 games) in the postseason in both 2019 and 2020. Their bullpen overall is well-rested, though some of the rested ones may or may not be ready for prime time.

On the negative side, likely, Ryan Pressly and Enoli Paredes, who pitched in the first two games of the series are not available for the third game. There are several pitchers (Josh James, Andre Scrubb, Cy Sneed, Brooks Raley, Luis Garcia) who have yet to pitch in this series and Blake Taylor would be available after pitching in Game 1.

But the best thing that could happen is for Urquidy to pitch 6 innings of one-run ball, the offense puts up a Crazy 8 on the scoreboard, and some of the relievers get their feet wet in a laugher of a clincher.

This will be a very crucial game for both clubs.

51 comments on “Game 3 of the ALDS: Critical one for both teams

  1. – Just a shout out for how good Kyle Tucker has been in the playoffs so far.
    – Can’t make myself watch the games live. Maybe all of this is gravy, after the Twins’ series, but I just can’t stand the pressure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well OP – I’ve watched most of the last two games live and will likely not see any of the remaining game(s) of this series live.
    So you folks need to be my eyes and ears on what you are seeing. I expect a 1000 word report, double spaced on my desk….oops….got carried away. But any observations you may have will be welcome

    Liked by 1 person

    • dave knows I’ve got 1000 words in my holster ready to draw anytime, Dan!

      I’m feeling for OP, too. No need to worry, my friend. The A’s look severely whipped if ya ask me.

      They’ll probably give it all they’ve got with Montas and Luzardo?

      I was just thinking this morning what a coward Mike Fiers is. He must feel so much shame for taking the money and ring. If he were proud of what he’d done, he’d face this team ‘like a man’. “Where’s Mike?” I’ll bet even Bob Melvin knows what a psychological advantage Astros get if he pitches..

      Imagine the stare downs in store?

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I can only watch the Astros bat. Have to leave the room for the other side.
    The Twins series was easy. No expectations, no worries. But this is beginning to look legit.
    It’s like the team just woke up after a nightmare off season.

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  4. Who can the Astros drop off their playoff roster, keeping Grienke with hopes his soreness goes away for the next series and bring up another pitcher (Bielak?). Drop Toro? I like our chances today with Urquidy.

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    • My depth chart:

      Brandon Bielak
      Cionel Perez
      Brandon Bailey
      Humberto Castellanos
      Shawn Dubin
      Carlos Sanabria

      Mentioned before Conine Torres have another year to burn, and if we don’t “need” them, or they won’t tip the scale so to speak, no need to roster them yet.

      The fact that James Garcia and Sneed haven’t pitched tells me these lesser depth names won’t (foreseeably) factor in. They’re all in process, though and prepared.

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  5. Got to the hotel just in time to look at my phone and see Diaz hit a dinger.
    In the room watching James tease me with his control.
    My God – if Yuli’s glove ever fails – Correa will throw it thru his chest on a DP

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tough call today. Do you go for broke and use Javier late to close it out when you’re up 3 and worry about who starts tomorrow if things go south? Or do you save Javier for a possible game four when you’re up by three and need just nine outs?

    Easy to come to a conclusion now, so I won’t. But if this club is going to make a real run, especially if Grienke is done, guys like Josh James have to come through. We’re going to need outs from most of those guys out in the pen. Dusty is getting a bit of grief again across the way, but I can’t hold this one against him.

    The focus tomorrow should be to score 12 and make it easier on the mound crew. Who steps up when Javier tires? If Montas gets beat up early, we might get to see Fiers. Fitting.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. With all the questions about pitching I wonder if Dusty would choose to go with multiple pitchers with no one throwing more than 3 innings. May be a way to keep the A’s hitters off balance if that’s possible. It seems like everyone of them can go yard at any time. And we need to get the hit parade going early and big.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Twice a week I drive 40 miles each way to the hospital to take my girl to targeted therapy by a specialist. Today is the day. While she is there, I don a mask and gloves and go run the errands we require as a family. Today is that day. Please root for the Astros for me. I hope to see a good result upon our return home.
    I continue to remind myself that we had a below .500 record during the season and had nobody predicting we would go this far in the playoffs.
    House money, right, Becky?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m with you OP – we just ate at the Sunset Grill and will be touring around Fredericksburg today. One of our favorite places – but more fun without a mask and gloves.
    I see they still have not announced the starter against Montes today. Tough call – if Greinke goes and he continues to pitch so-so and hurt this could get away from us.
    Maybe you throw Greinke with Javier backing him up and try to finish it today. If you have to play Friday it is all hands on deck. Mc Culllers, Garcia, etal.
    If you get to the ALCS would you lead off with Framber? He’s really their ace right now.
    The hitters did their job overall yesterday – need more scoring early today.
    I continue to marvel at watching Correa turn DPs – that is the biggest cannon we’ve seen since Caminiti played here. It’s like having Gerrit Cole throwing from 2nd base…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thoughts
    – Did they really pinch hit Reddick for Maldonado late yesterday? That’s kind of like Omar Bradley saying we’ve decided to send the French troops into the Battle of the Bulge and sit out George Patton. OK Martin is not Patton, but Josh hits like the French in the clutch
    – It sure is nice to see 3 hits next to Altuve’s name and 2 hits next to Bregman
    – In the Astros box score they show everybody’s BA and OPS for this round of the playoffs. Ironic that Brantley is a little under .300 BA when he was the only one over in the regular season while all these other guys are over .300 – Springer, Altuve, Bregman etc. Yuli looks lost
    -Tucker continues to hit and knock in runs. And he’s so young

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  11. Jake Kaplan of the Athletic has reportedly tweeted that it will be Greinke today
    You can’t get more official than an unsubstantiated third party report of a tweet can you?

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  12. We caught a break on the K pitch to Davis. I thought it was low. No reason to bring Pressly in there in the 9th. I’d have had him ready but only if we needed him. But it worked out anyway.

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  13. Thanks to you all for pulling our team through this.
    We have the gravy.
    Is it too presumptuous for us to ask for desert? Maybe something orange, like orange jello.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. -The A’s went with their idea that the Astros can’t hit LH starters. They decided to start two lefties in the four games. The results were two losses and a combined ERA for the two pitchers was above 10.00. Like I said before the series started, forget about Fiers, the A’s are daring the Astros to hit left handed pitchers. It was a crucial mistaken decision.
    – MLB decided to send the Astros to the West Coast as many times as they could. The Angels were supposed to be good and the A’s were supposed to be good, so MLB decided to send Houston to play in those cities for 7 of the ten games during the regular season and even arranged to have an eighth game played in Oakland. Then they arranged for the Astros to not go home at the end of the season, but fly directly to Minneapolis. Then they had the Astros fly to California to play Oakland in California. Now, they get to play another playoff series in California.
    – Of course, I forgot to mention that the Astros had to play in San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Arizona and Colorado during the regular.
    – Then you have MLB thumbing their nose at every team in baseball that is not NY or LA by giving all the prime time games to those two and relegating others to the less desirable times. It is pretty obvious that 28 of the 30 MLB teams are second class citizens and that is ironic, considering these two cities are the loudest when screaming about equality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boy, the truth sure hurts, doesn’t it 1OP. I honestly felt like everybody was rooting against the Astros this year, yet I know some local Yankee fans who were not as zealous about it as those jerk wads in the media and on the other teams. I’m a much bigger fan of Correa now than before since he’s been carrying the banner for the fans and the team with his comments. They haven’t been cocky or arrogant but just letting the teams play do the talking for it. I know it’s probably beyond our reach but wouldn’t it be great to keep him, Springer, and Brantley for the next 2 -3 years. Yuli took less and yes he’s been horrible at the plate in the playoffs but for 6.5 MM for next year, I call that a pretty good deal. As for the playoffs I hope TB beats the Yankees but if they don’t, then bring ’em on. I’d like nothing better than for us to vanquish them again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can guarantee you that the further the Astros get in the playoffs the more the hate will surface.
        All ten of the Ray’s fans are spending their wrath on the Yankees and the entire rest of the world is spending theirs on Tampa.
        Come Sunday, they will all be spewing hatred toward the Astros.
        If the Astros feed off of these feelings, they should have a feast.

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      • It’s lost in the boxscore with all the HRs, but one of the announcers referenced that the Astros and A’s had the top two, defensive first basemen in the AL this year. Gurriel only drove in one run during the series, but he certainly saved some on defense. In the outfield, Reddick had that big catch taking away a HR yesterday. The ball always flies at Chavez Ravine during the day, but in a more traditional setting it sometimes comes down to a game of inches.

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