ALCS 2021: Red Sox vs. Astros Discussion Thread

JOBU

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I’m just so damn proud of this team. Who would have thought they’d still be playing into mid/late October? Not me that’s for sure. They just seem like a completely different team at the moment. No more lackadaisical baseball. Fielding, running. Almost no boneheaded baseball. The RISP could still use some improvement but baby steps.
 

jmcc5400

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Their defense has been really good, knock wood. Schwarber has made every play and Arroyo and X made several nice plays today. The only questionable plays I can think of are the ball to Arroyo’s backhand last night that squirted through (seems like he took half a step in the wrong direction) and the ball that Santana pulled up on yesterday. Keep it clean.
 

TonyPenaNeverJuiced

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What's the level of concern on Devers
It's hard to gauge when the guys' reaction to any pain is to shake his arm violently or rapidly extend it. I think they're hanging their hat on the pain level remaining manageable and then rest in the winter. I genuinely wonder/hope if they'll sit him down with Papi and try to shorten the end of his swing this Winter.

I feel like they would have put Dalbec at third and Shaw at first in the ninth if they were concerned about it. After all, it's his throwing arm.
I can see it now. Dalbec to Shaw for the trophy and Shaw pocket's it a la Menchkayvich

Separate note:

This team is having so much fun, it's so fun to watch. They weren't such a happy team all year, but they're coming together at the exact right moment. It goes beyond the coverage for the Robyn song, and it's just the attitude across the board: positive, confident, stoked for one another. Iggy getting so much coverage as the unusable 27th-man on the team is just so awesome.
 

ricopetro6

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So let's hear some guesses on starters going forward. Do both Erod and Pivetta get starts in next 2 games? Sale game 5 with extra days rest then Nate in Game 6 also with extra rest?
 

Pitt the Elder

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It's hard to gauge when the guys' reaction to any pain is to shake his arm violently or rapidly extend it. I think they're hanging their hat on the pain level remaining manageable and then rest in the winter. I genuinely wonder/hope if they'll sit him down with Papi and try to shorten the end of his swing this Winter.



I can see it now. Dalbec to Shaw for the trophy and Shaw pocket's it a la Menchkayvich

Separate note:

This team is having so much fun, it's so fun to watch. They weren't such a happy team all year, but they're coming together at the exact right moment. It goes beyond the coverage for the Robyn song, and it's just the attitude across the board: positive, confident, stoked for one another. Iggy getting so much coverage as the unusable 27th-man on the team is just so awesome.
It's crazy that Travis Shaw is playing meaningful innings for us in the ALCS in 2021. Crazy good, but crazy.
 

RedOctober3829

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You have to like where this series is at pitching wise. It’s a huge advantage to the Red Sox. They have ERod, Pivetta, Eovaldi, and Sale as possible starters the next few games while the Astros have Urquidity in G3 then what? Valdez on 3 days rest in G4? Odorizzi? Greinke? Garcia seems like he’s out. They’re in trouble. I don’t think they can keep the Sox bats at bay. The key is to limit the Astros damage and avoid the big innings from them.
 

soxhop411

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You have to like where this series is at pitching wise. It’s a huge advantage to the Red Sox. They have ERod, Pivetta, Eovaldi, and Sale as possible starters the next few games while the Astros have Urquidity in G3 then what? Valdez on 3 days rest in G4? Odorizzi? Greinke? Garcia seems like he’s out. They’re in trouble. I don’t think they can keep the Sox bats at bay. The key is to limit the Astros damage and avoid the big innings from them.
Yah. And Garcia not telling the team he was trying to play they an injury may have screwed them. As the astros could have planned the roster and rotation around that.
They had to use Odorizzi because of that and now they have blown up their rotation plans.
 

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You have to like where this series is at pitching wise. It’s a huge advantage to the Red Sox. They have ERod, Pivetta, Eovaldi, and Sale as possible starters the next few games while the Astros have Urquidity in G3 then what? Valdez on 3 days rest in G4? Odorizzi? Greinke? Garcia seems like he’s out. They’re in trouble. I don’t think they can keep the Sox bats at bay. The key is to limit the Astros damage and avoid the big innings from them.
Greinke was having a solid season until late August. Then COVID, then neck soreness, and he's really limped home.
Having said that, I expect him to get a start this series.
 

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Yah. And Garcia not telling the team he was trying to play they an injury may have screwed them. As the astros could have planned the roster and rotation around that.
They had to use Odorizzi because of that and now they have blown up their rotation plans.
Plans change. Watching the Dodgers tonight? The Astros can execute a very effective bullpen game if that's what it comes to.
 

Hank Scorpio

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This is just wild speculation on my part, but I think Raffy’s injury could be a nerve issue, either carpal or ulna entrapment.

I had ulna entrapment several years ago, and the symptoms were occasional (almost electric) jolts of pain that would shoot from my fingers or wrist up to my elbow. It could be triggered by picking up an object, grabbing a door knob, turning a handle, or leaning on my elbow. It did not happen every time I did one of these things. It might happen 2-3 times in a day, then not happen again for a week. But it sucked, and it was alarming and frustrating.

Brief sharp electric pain would be followed by pins and needles, and sometimes weakness in my hand.

The motion of Raffy’s swing, his shaking and exercising of the hand/forearm, and his reaction are consistent with what I experienced.

If that’s the case, he should be fine to finish up the postseason, but he should keep it braced and avoid weights for now. He’ll probably have a few more painful moments scattered over the rest of the playoffs. Outside chance he’ll field a ball, grip it to throw, feel a jolt and not make the throw - because it is sudden, unexpected, and very painful.

I ultimately had to have surgery - ulna nerve transposition. Basically the nerve was somehow moved into the wrong spot. My arm was in a cast for 2-3 weeks, stiff/tender for a couple of weeks after, but I have full use of it. It would be something he can play through short term, but it can’t be ignored long term. Surgery in November or December, he should be fine for Spring Training.
 

cantor44

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So let's hear some guesses on starters going forward. Do both Erod and Pivetta get starts in next 2 games? Sale game 5 with extra days rest then Nate in Game 6 also with extra rest?
Yes, definitely^^^^^^
Though Sale will be on 4 days, Eovaldi on 5 (unless he pitches in relief game 2 or 3) ...
 

cantor44

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Their defense has been really good, knock wood. Schwarber has made every play and Arroyo and X made several nice plays today. The only questionable plays I can think of are the ball to Arroyo’s backhand last night that squirted through (seems like he took half a step in the wrong direction) and the ball that Santana pulled up on yesterday. Keep it clean.
There was also the head high line drive that went right past Devers glove (or was that against the Rays?? Am I already conflating?) ...but generally YES, some of their best defense of the year, actually. (pu-pu-pu).
 

jmcc5400

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There was also the head high line drive that went right past Devers glove (or was that against the Rays?? Am I already conflating?) ...but generally YES, some of their best defense of the year, actually. (pu-pu-pu).
That’s funny, I hesitated on that one and concluded it was against the Rays. But I’m still not sure.
 

Flynn4ever

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It's hard to gauge when the guys' reaction to any pain is to shake his arm violently or rapidly extend it. I think they're hanging their hat on the pain level remaining manageable and then rest in the winter. I genuinely wonder/hope if they'll sit him down with Papi and try to shorten the end of his swing this Winter.



I can see it now. Dalbec to Shaw for the trophy and Shaw pocket's it a la Menchkayvich

Separate note:

This team is having so much fun, it's so fun to watch. They weren't such a happy team all year, but they're coming together at the exact right moment. It goes beyond the coverage for the Robyn song, and it's just the attitude across the board: positive, confident, stoked for one another. Iggy getting so much coverage as the unusable 27th-man on the team is just so awesome.
I hadn't thought of Papi as a swing doctor until you mentioned it, but yes, in hindsight, that guy certainly knew when it was the time (like with a 9-3 lead) to not try for a grand slam with nobody on. I am also having 2013 vibes with this team, that was, for me, the most surprising and in some ways, rewarding of the tour champions in my lifetime. The "some ways" does not cover 2004. (edit, originally called it a 6-3 lead, had the 6 run margin on my mind. I hope the bullpen will respect such leads going forward.)
 

greek_gawd_of_walks

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Urquidy has a huge reverse split for his career: 259/298/468 vs RH and 177/220/305 vs LH. Might be a time to try to work Bobby into the lineup despite the right/right matchup. Not sure who you'd sit. Cora probably rides with the group who's gotten him here, but if Bobby doesn't get in vs Valdez and can't get ABs vs a big reverse split guy like Urquidy, he's probably not going to be used as anything other than a defensive sub going forward...until the World Series that is and then he'll get some pinch hit opportunities for sure.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Greinke was having a solid season until late August. Then COVID, then neck soreness, and he's really limped home.
Having said that, I expect him to get a start this series.
It is strange how much of an after-thought Greinke has become with the Astros. His only post-season action so far was one inning stemming the bleeding in a blowout loss. There's a part of me that fears he's going to have a 2004 Derek Lowe sort of role for the Astros in this series: odd man out of the rotation, forgotten man in the bullpen, pressed into service by injuries and an overtaxed staff, saves the day. I can only hope he doesn't pull it off.
 

joe dokes

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It is strange how much of an after-thought Greinke has become with the Astros. His only post-season action so far was one inning stemming the bleeding in a blowout loss. There's a part of me that fears he's going to have a 2004 Derek Lowe sort of role for the Astros in this series: odd man out of the rotation, forgotten man in the bullpen, pressed into service by injuries and an overtaxed staff, saves the day. I can only hope he doesn't pull it off.
The parallels are there, but Greinke had a career low K-rate and a career high HR rate. I think the Sox batters, as they are currently playing, will eat him alive.
 

cantor44

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Dalbec as a regular defensive sub is not a phrase most of us would have expected using three months ago.
Dalbec's whole trajectory has been bizarre. From tearing the cover off the ball in his 2020 call up, to not looking like a major league hitter for four months in 2021 and the team trading for not one, but two players to try to replace his at bats (and testing Cordero at first base, too), to him suddenly becoming - literally - the best hitter on the team and one of the best in the majors for two months, to him being benched against hard throwing RHP, to him being benched against all RHP, to him being benched, period.

They kept letting him hit when he was terrible, and benched him when he was hot. Cora, I think, has shown his hand here: Dalbec won't be starting any games in the post season if no one is injured.

Frankly, I'm surprised that Cora is not him starting against LHP. The platoon would be with Verdugo essentially, with Schwarber sliding between LF and first base. Verdugo has had a real nice post season so far, but then again he has extreme splits - does not hit lefties well, which is what Dalbec does particularly well.

This reminds me of Farrell abandoning a platoon and benching Nava in the 2013 post season, starting Gomes in all games because of his "intangibles." But if these intangibles are so essential to winning, why the didn't Gomes start every game during the regular season?

Well, things worked out in 2013, so let's hope 2021 follows suit (the closest comp, maybe to this team) ...

EDIT: Just looked, this up, to my surprise Dalbec led the team in Barrels/PA, at 13%. Devers at 11.1, and Schwarb at 11, Renfroe at 11. No one else over 10% ...I wonder if Dalbec's privately feeling a bit snubbed this post season (he seems like an upstanding guy, but it must feel a little unfair to him to not have any playing time).
 
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joe dokes

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Frankly, I'm surprised that Cora is not him starting against LHP. The platoon would be with Verdugo essentially, with Schwarber sliding between LF and first base. Verdugo has had a real nice post season so far, but then again he has extreme splits - does not hit lefties well, which is what Dalbec does particularly well.
I think the bottom line for Cora here is the "Schwarber to LF" part. Not happening, unless there's an emergency.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Dalbec's whole trajectory has been bizarre. From tearing the cover off the ball in his 2020 call up, to not looking like a major league hitter for four months in 2021 and the team trading for not one, but two players to try to replace his at bats (and testing Cordero at first base, too), to him suddenly becoming - literally - the best hitter on the team and one of the best in the majors for two months, to him being benched against hard throwing RHP, to him being benched against all RHP, to him being benched, period.

They kept letting him hit when he was terrible, and benched him when he was hot. Cora, I think, has shown his hand here: Dalbec won't be starting any games in the post season if no one is injured.

Frankly, I'm surprised that Cora is not him starting against LHP. The platoon would be with Verdugo essentially, with Schwarber sliding between LF and first base. Verdugo has had a real nice post season so far, but then again he has extreme splits - does not hit lefties well, which is what Dalbec does particularly well.

This reminds me of Farrell abandoning a platoon and benching Nava in the 2013 post season, starting Gomes in all games because of his "intangibles." But if these intangibles are so essential to winning, why the didn't Gomes start every game during the regular season?

Well, things worked out in 2013, so let's hope 2021 follows suit (the closest comp, maybe to this team) ...

EDIT: Just looked, this up, to my surprise Dalbec led the team in Barrels/PA, at 13%. Devers at 11.1, and Schwarb at 11. No one else over 10% ...I wonder if he's privately feeling a bit snubbed this post season (he seems like an upstanding guy, but it must feel a little unfair to him to not have any playing time).
It's less a benching and more a matter of riding the hot hands. Why mess with something that's working? Since JDM has come back from the ankle injury and pushed Dalbec to the bench, the offense has averaged a touch over seven runs per game. No reason to disrupt that just to wedge Dalbec into the lineup at the expense of the outfield defense.

And given pitcher usage thus far in the post-season, it's likely to be fruitless to start certain players based on the starting pitcher's handedness. What good does starting Dalbec (and sitting Verdugo) against a LHP do if the pitcher is out of the game by the third inning and replaced by a righty. Just as an example, imagine Dalbec started Friday's game against Valdez. Assuming Dalbec hits 7th or 8th in that lineup (Verdugo hit 7th), he sees Valdez once and then a string of righties followed. It's just a more efficient use to skip tailoring the lineup to the starter and having Dalbec available later in the game for one of the lefty relievers or as a defensive replacement.
 

joe dokes

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And given pitcher usage thus far in the post-season, it's likely to be fruitless to start certain players based on the starting pitcher's handedness. What good does starting Dalbec (and sitting Verdugo) against a LHP do if the pitcher is out of the game by the third inning and replaced by a righty. Just as an example, imagine Dalbec started Friday's game against Valdez. Assuming Dalbec hits 7th or 8th in that lineup (Verdugo hit 7th), he sees Valdez once and then a string of righties followed. It's just a more efficient use to skip tailoring the lineup to the starter and having Dalbec available later in the game for one of the lefty relievers or as a defensive replacement.
This is probably even more important than the defensive angle. The evolution of "starting pitching" should cause managers to re-think their starting lineup. Especially in the playoffs. Managers have 8 or 9 relievers to choose from, but only 3 or 4 bench players.
 

jtn46

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Houston have fewer high velocity relievers than Tampa, but Dalbec struggling against velocity is difficult to plan around in postseason games. Maybe if Greinke gets a start Bobby will see his name in the starting lineup.
 

cantor44

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It's less a benching and more a matter of riding the hot hands. Why mess with something that's working? Since JDM has come back from the ankle injury and pushed Dalbec to the bench, the offense has averaged a touch over seven runs per game. No reason to disrupt that just to wedge Dalbec into the lineup at the expense of the outfield defense.

And given pitcher usage thus far in the post-season, it's likely to be fruitless to start certain players based on the starting pitcher's handedness. What good does starting Dalbec (and sitting Verdugo) against a LHP do if the pitcher is out of the game by the third inning and replaced by a righty. Just as an example, imagine Dalbec started Friday's game against Valdez. Assuming Dalbec hits 7th or 8th in that lineup (Verdugo hit 7th), he sees Valdez once and then a string of righties followed. It's just a more efficient use to skip tailoring the lineup to the starter and having Dalbec available later in the game for one of the lefty relievers or as a defensive replacement.
While Dalbec at first and Schwarb in the outfield hurts the outfield defense, it improves the infield defense (though Schwarb has looked good the last couple games!) ...one reason to start Dalbec against LHP is that, well, he hits left handed pitching as well anyone on the team (only Renfroe has a higher OPS, and they two are tied with 11 HRS). The dude RAKES LHP.

BUT ... you make a good point about the starting pitching. The way post season baseball has evolved has starting pitchers pulled WAY early, making L/R matchups less advantageous, as they starter may only go once through the line up ....
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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This is probably even more important than the defensive angle. The evolution of "starting pitching" should cause managers to re-think their starting lineup. Especially in the playoffs. Managers have 8 or 9 relievers to choose from, but only 3 or 4 bench players.
I think at this point, it's primarily a playoff problem. During the regular season, even with the evolution of "openers" and an increase in bullpen games, the majority of games are still played with the traditional starter going as deep as he can. So platooning and playing matchups with the starting lineup can still work during the season, especially as a way of divvying up playing time for part-time players. But with the playoffs and the ever faster hooks, it's near folly to plan a lineup around the first pitcher of the game as if he'll last 6+ innings.
 

OCD SS

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Greinke was having a solid season until late August. Then COVID, then neck soreness, and he's really limped home.
Having said that, I expect him to get a start this series.
It was mentioned on the radio broadcast that he’s no longer fully stretched out to start; he’s at about 40 pitches, so figure he’s in for 1-2 innings starting clean.
 

ricopetro6

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While Dalbec at first and Schwarb in the outfield hurts the outfield defense, it improves the infield defense (though Schwarb has looked good the last couple games!) ...one reason to start Dalbec against LHP is that, well, he hits left handed pitching as well anyone on the team (only Renfroe has a higher OPS, and they two are tied with 11 HRS). The dude RAKES LHP.

BUT ... you make a good point about the starting pitching. The way post season baseball has evolved has starting pitchers pulled WAY early, making L/R matchups less advantageous, as they starter may only go once through the line up ....
right, so play the match ups while you can. Dalbec starts against the lefty and when he's pulled for a righty, you sub in Schwarber/Verdugo. Dalbec can be a difference maker against lefties with his power.
 

soxhop411

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This was a pretty fun segment by a local HOU news station
Astros and Red Sox fans know rosters but struggle pronouncing each other's location names
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston and Boston fanbases know each other's rosters, but when it comes to pronouncing location names, some fans are left tongue-tied.

With the American League Championship Series underway, ABC13 quizzed fans on names from Massachusetts and the Houston area. Astros fans were asked to pronounce five places from Massachusetts.

The names were Worcester, Gloucester, Chicopee, Leominster and Tewksbury.

ABC 13 also quizzed Red Sox fans, and asked them to pronounce Humble, Bexar County, Alief, and Kuykendahl Road.
Video in the link below
https://abc13.com/houston-astros-boston-red-sox-alcs-fans-pronounce-opposing-city-names/11136692/
 

greek_gawd_of_walks

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Edro, Big Dick Nick and Captain Eo (the first two on short leashes) would be my call for the next three games.
I think this is probably the plan, until it isn't (like game three of the DS). If you're in a tie game or ahead late and are down to Robles (maybe Cora goes with him, Brasier (maybe Cora goes with him) and Sawamura (definitely not), I think Cora will go to pivetta and try to win that game and let tomorrow wait for tomorrow. Which would probably necessitate another Sale start.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I think this is probably the plan, until it isn't (like game three of the DS). If you're in a tie game or ahead late and are down to Robles (maybe Cora goes with him, Brasier (maybe Cora goes with him) and Sawamura (definitely not), I think Cora will go to pivetta and try to win that game and let tomorrow wait for tomorrow. Which would probably necessitate another Sale start.
If the Sox are going to win this series, Sale IS going to pitch again. I don't there's a way around it. It's just too unlikely that everything will go perfectly the Red Sox way such that they don't need him again. Even if they get to Wednesday up 3-1 with ERod pitching well tomorrow and Pivetta doing the job on Tuesday, I can't see Cora swapping the rotation order to go to Eovaldi on short rest rather than Sale on regular rest. He'd go with Sale and the kitchen sink approach at home knowing he's got Eovaldi in his back pocket for Game 6.
 

allmanbro

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I wonder how likely it is that, if and when Sale is going, he gets an opener. Having a righty go for the first inning would mean a huge shift in look/arm angle going to Sale. The Astros lineup is so deep he's still facing good hitters when he comes in, so that part of the opener concept is not as big. Although Altuve-Bregman-Brantley (top 3 in their normal order) are all RHH and Alvarez and Tucker are LHH, so that's a better platoon matchup.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I wonder how likely it is that, if and when Sale is going, he gets an opener. Having a righty go for the first inning would mean a huge shift in look/arm angle going to Sale. The Astros lineup is so deep he's still facing good hitters when he comes in, so that part of the opener concept is not as big. Although Altuve-Bregman-Brantley (top 3 in their normal order) are all RHH and Alvarez and Tucker are LHH, so that's a better platoon matchup.
Brantley is a LHH. And the Astros, at least through the first two games, have staggered their lineup pretty efficiently (R/L/R/L/R/L/R/R/R). I'm not sure an opener does Sale any favors.