ALCS 2021: Red Sox vs. Astros Discussion Thread

Lose Remerswaal

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Perhaps now that baseball is embracing gambling they will take the human element out of the game. The last think they want is to piss off their gambling partners on a call that we have had technology for years to fix. Since a blown call can can have humongous implications for our “friends in the desert” as Brent Musburger used to say.
This is where the rubber is going to hit the road. A Donaghy type scandal would be a big problem
 
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Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Ouch. What a thing to wake up to….
I watched until the 7th and felt nervous.
Has to be extra frustrating for Pivetta who pitched a fantastic game. If the bats were able to pile on a few runs early I doubt the 9th would have unfolded the way it did.
So…. Sale and Houck today.
Eovaldi in six. Erod and Pivetta in 7 if necessary?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Ouch. What a thing to wake up to….
I watched until the 7th and felt nervous.
Has to be extra frustrating for Pivetta who pitched a fantastic game. If the bats were able to pile on a few runs early I doubt the 9th would have unfolded the way it did.
So…. Sale and Houck today.
Eovaldi in six. Erod and Pivetta in 7 if necessary?
Seems the most likely route, but I wouldn't entirely rule out an ERod appearance today, nor would I rule out he or Pivetta appearing in Game 6.

I said it before the game yesterday, but it's worth saying again, this team goes as far as the bats can carry them. They're an elite team when scoring 4+ runs (top 4 in MLB in 2021) and bottom of the league when scoring less than 4 (bottom 6 in MLB in 2021). I know that seems intuitive because all teams have a losing record when scoring fewer than four, but the Sox seemed to take that to an extreme this year.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Just watched last night’s game here in Japan. That was a masterful strike by Evo. Not sure if we could have done anything with that new life, but it was a strike.
Texting friends this morning about that and watched some replays and it was clearly a strike. Inning over tied game. You have to like the possibility of getting one run across the plate. Hurts even more now.
 

BigSoxFan

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Just watched last night’s game here in Japan. That was a masterful strike by Evo. Not sure if we could have done anything with that new life, but it was a strike.
We’ll never know and that’s the most frustrating part. I can take a loss if it was like Game 1 where the other team just executes better. But losing a game because an ump missed an obvious call is just…annoying. Ruins the whole viewing experience.

Of course, we still had a chance to get Castro or hold it to 3-2 so that’s on the Sox. The bats were awful but bottom of the 9th tie game pressure could have helped them.

And Laz ruined that.
 

A Bad Man

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Laz call sucked but he missed a lot of them both ways it seemed. Sometimes you lose baseball games. Recreate intention and play with all your love of the game and your team and the beautiful city of Boston and Jerry Remy today!!
 

Strike4

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They're an elite team when scoring 4+ runs (top 4 in MLB in 2021) and bottom of the league when scoring less than 4 (bottom 6 in MLB in 2021). I know that seems intuitive because all teams have a losing record when scoring fewer than four, but the Sox seemed to take that to an extreme this year.
Last night it looked like the approach that puts them over that 4+ threshold early didn't work out - probably a combination of the strike zone issues and the Sox hitters being a bit overzealous. Pitching did its job but could only hold it together so long. I think the big question is if the lineup can adjust and get back to mashing, or if this is one of those longer (3-4 game) stretches of being below the 4 run line. If the latter, just hope they can scratch out wins of 5-4 or something like that.
 

BaseballJones

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Key ABs in the game last night (in order of appearance):

4th inning. Arroyo on third with one out. Schwarber up. Just needs a fly ball to get the run in. Grounds out to short instead. Kiké then pops out to end the threat.

5th inning. Bogaerts at second with a double. One out. Verdugo flies to deep left, and JD strikes out. No runs score.

8th inning. First pitch from Whitlock, Altuve crushes it for a homer. 97 mph fastball, inner half. Boom. Tie score.

9th inning. Correa hits a tough pitch (fastball away that he drives to deep right). Renfroe misplays it - no official error, but he should have been playing deeper to start with and he misjudged the flight of the ball. Double.

9th inning. Two out, the at-bat to Castro. The obvious moment - the terrible missed strike call by Laz Diaz. But even then, Eovaldi has a chance to get out of it. Hangs a splitter that Castro lines to right for a run-scoring single.

9th inning. Two out, Eovaldi, still in the game and having a chance to keep it a one-run game, walks Altuve on a 3-2 pitch. That set into motion Cora's decision to save Eovaldi's arm, given his likely game 6 start, and bring in Perez for what could be argued is a favorable lefty-lefty matchup.

9th inning. Two out, Perez pitching to Brantley with the bases loaded. Ripped for a double that clears the bases. Game over. Everything that happened after that was just piling on.

Perez' pitching performance: double, walk, single, single, single, fly out to deep LCF. Impressive performance by Martin.
 

BaseballJones

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By the way, last night is a good example of how players (and umpires) can make managers look good or bad. Cora got five from Pivetta, then used the combo of Taylor and Ottavino to get through the 6th. He had his best reliever lined up (and well-rested) for innings 7-8. Whitlock got through the 7th and things were looking good. Then Altuve changed everything with one swing. And Laz Diaz and a hanging splitter changed everything even more in the 9th. But Cora had things lined up beautifully. If Whitlock does his job, the Sox have the lead going into the 9th and I bet Eovaldi holds it down and we're all saying what a brilliant job Cora did to set up his relievers after a strong start by Pivetta. Cora pushing all the right buttons again in the playoffs. But his two best pitchers struggle, the ump screwed them, and suddenly Cora looks terrible.

Baseball is funny that way.
 

JimD

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We're going to find out how resilient this team really is. It's one thing to bounce back from a Game 1 loss at the other team's park - it's a very different thing to lose at home in Game 4 when you were six outs away from going up 3-1 with a chance to close it out tomorrow. I'm sure the players felt that kick in the nuts just as much as we all did. Cora is going to earn his money today.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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By the way, last night is a good example of how players (and umpires) can make managers look good or bad. Cora got five from Pivetta, then used the combo of Taylor and Ottavino to get through the 6th. He had his best reliever lined up (and well-rested) for innings 7-8. Whitlock got through the 7th and things were looking good. Then Altuve changed everything with one swing. And Laz Diaz and a hanging splitter changed everything even more in the 9th. But Cora had things lined up beautifully. If Whitlock does his job, the Sox have the lead going into the 9th and I bet Eovaldi holds it down and we're all saying what a brilliant job Cora did to set up his relievers after a strong start by Pivetta. Cora pushing all the right buttons again in the playoffs. But his two best pitchers struggle, the ump screwed them, and suddenly Cora looks terrible.

Baseball is funny that way.
It's probably arguable as to whether he should have pulled Pivetta so early given we've got a Sale start today and the bullpen will be once again needed.

No problem with Whitlock going two. The bad strike call screwed Eovaldi, I might have left him in for one more batter at 3-2 just to get out of the inning. Bringing in Perez who is a human white flag was not a good choice at all, lefty and lefty be damned.
 

mfried

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By the way, last night is a good example of how players (and umpires) can make managers look good or bad. Cora got five from Pivetta, then used the combo of Taylor and Ottavino to get through the 6th. He had his best reliever lined up (and well-rested) for innings 7-8. Whitlock got through the 7th and things were looking good. Then Altuve changed everything with one swing. And Laz Diaz and a hanging splitter changed everything even more in the 9th. But Cora had things lined up beautifully. If Whitlock does his job, the Sox have the lead going into the 9th and I bet Eovaldi holds it down and we're all saying what a brilliant job Cora did to set up his relievers after a strong start by Pivetta. Cora pushing all the right buttons again in the playoffs. But his two best pitchers struggle, the ump screwed them, and suddenly Cora looks terrible.

Baseball is funny that way.
I would have left Pivetta in on a very short leash in the 6th, and would have left Eo in for one more batter in the 9th. But Cora’s decisions were still defensible.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I would have left Pivetta in on a very short leash in the 6th, and would have left Eo in for one more batter in the 9th. But Cora’s decisions were still defensible.
My initial thought in the moment was let Pivetta pitch the 6th, but with Brantley-Bregman-Alvarez due up, it really was the ideal spot for Taylor. Two of their best LHH against your best left-handed reliever is a match-up you take when it comes (and it worked). Weirdly, I think if Pivetta gives up a baserunner in the fifth and instead it's Bregman-Alvarez-Correa due up in the sixth, he probably stays in.

It was one unfortunate pitch that did in Cora's plans, and I'm not talking about Eovaldi's curveball. It was the pitch to Altuve. Smoltz was all over it all night saying that Altuve was itching to break out of his mini-slump and jumping on the first pitch, and Whitlock put his in the exact wrong spot. Don't know if that's on him or Vazquez for the pitch selection, but I think anything other than a letter high fastball on the inner half was obviously the way to start him (easy for me to say).

Ultimately though, this game came down to the offense's inability to push more runs across. They're not equipped to win 2-1 or 3-2 type games.
 

RedOctober3829

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The bats need to bring it early and often. We all know the formula is to score 4 plus and get good enough pitching. The offense can’t afford to have bad nights. You aren’t going to keep Houston’s offense down for very long.

Might it be a night to get Plawecki’s bat in there against a lefty? Dalbec would be nice but we know Schwarber isn’t coming out and shouldn’t.
 

ricopetro6

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I would have left Pivetta in on a very short leash in the 6th, and would have left Eo in for one more batter in the 9th. But Cora’s decisions were still defensible.
yup, let Pivetta start the 6th on a short leash. They burned through 2 relievers to get through the 6th. It came down to Whitlock pitching 2 innings or letting Pivetta(who was dealing) pitch 1 more. No need to pull Pivetta and his pitch count was low.

edit- and why were the Sox hitters late it seemed on every 93 MPH fastball?
 

BaseballJones

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They could have also gone with Robles for one and Whitlock for one. They went with Whitlock for two. He did fine the first inning, and fine the second except for that one pitch. It happens. Altuve is a great hitter. Turned on a 97-mph fastball like it was nothing.
 

joe dokes

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I would have left Pivetta in on a very short leash in the 6th, and would have left Eo in for one more batter in the 9th. But Cora’s decisions were still defensible.
With a bigger lead, I would have left Pivetta in, too. But not with a 1 run lead and that part of the order up.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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yup, let Pivetta start the 6th on a short leash. They burned through 2 relievers to get through the 6th. It came down to Whitlock pitching 2 innings or letting Pivetta(who was dealing) pitch 1 more. No need to pull Pivetta and his pitch count was low.

edit- and why were the Sox hitters late it seemed on every 93 MPH fastball?
"Burning" through two relievers when you have NINE available to you is hardly a crippling act. And it's not like the workload of either in that inning takes them off the table for today. I mean, consider who didn't get into the game yesterday (Houck, Brasier, Robles) before making it out like Whitlock pitched two out of necessity rather than intent all along.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I think they did everything right, with this pen you have to play matchups early on; they had the lead with their two best available pitchers ready and those guys didn’t get the job done. It happens and the margin of error was small.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Any follow-up on Schwarber's hammy? Just a cramp or worse? The last thing this team needs right now is a hobbled Schwarber at the top of the lineup gutting out a hamstring injury. His ABs after getting visited by the trainer weren't too inspiring.
 

Zososoxfan

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I have no qualms with Cora's decisions last night, with the possible exception of Perez. WRT Pivetta, I was interested to see whether Cora would send him out for the 6th, and when he didn't my first thought was that he wants him to be relatively fresh for an appearance/appearances in G5/G6. I know Cora's playoff MO is to go all out for the W, but I think that notion was somewhere in his mind.
 

Flunky

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I said it before the game yesterday, but it's worth saying again, this team goes as far as the bats can carry them. They're an elite team when scoring 4+ runs (top 4 in MLB in 2021) and bottom of the league when scoring less than 4 (bottom 6 in MLB in 2021). I know that seems intuitive because all teams have a losing record when scoring fewer than four, but the Sox seemed to take that to an extreme this year.
bolded makes the idea of facing either NL team's pitching (more so Los Doyers) in the WS... interesting...
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Hard to really pin much of anything on Cora, IMO. Pivetta did his job. Whitlock threw a meatball to Altuve unfortunately. Eovaldi did his job, and got screwed on an awful call. Sox did not hit at all, except X.

I assumed the Sox would lose 1 of 3 at home to Houston, yet somehow losing last night makes me feel far more uncomfortable about this series for some reason.
 

joe dokes

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"Burning" through two relievers when you have NINE available to you is hardly a crippling act. And it's not like the workload of either in that inning takes them off the table for today. I mean, consider who didn't get into the game yesterday (Houck, Brasier, Robles) before making it out like Whitlock pitched two out of necessity rather than intent all along.
This may already be in a different thread, but did anyone notice Brasier stop suddenly during a brief shot of him warming up. He had the same look that Eovaldi had when he had the bad step in his start. When I didn't see him warm up again, I immediately leapt to the conclusion that he had his leg amputated, but I didnt see any news on him this morning, so probably nothing. Just checking . . .
 

BaseballJones

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When Bogaerts hit the homer in the first, I thought they'd just roll the Astros again. But Houston's bullpen was lights-out, and the Sox blew a couple of good scoring opportunities to tack on runs. That left the door open for what happened in the last couple of innings.
 

AB in DC

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Only thing I would question is having Whitlock start the seventh. With the bottom of the order coming up, I'd rather have someone else handle the weaker hitters and then bring in a fresh Whitlock when Altuve comes up. But I'm not sure it would have mattered -- that wasn't a horrible pitch to Altuve, he just got great wood on it. It happens.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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The problem was Tucker leading off that inning. You can’t have someone like Ottavino or Brasier face a tough lefty in a one run spot. Again, it gets back to the limited nature of this pen- Whitlock is really the only guy trusted to get RH and LH batters out. And even him against lefties isn’t optimal.

If the offense had gotten a few more runs and it’s 3-1 or 4-1, than yeah, you can stick with Otto there.

The lack of a second lefty they trust has been a problem.
 

AB in DC

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BTW, does anyone know where I can find the xOBA on the Correa double to start the 9th? Coming off the bat, I thought that Renfroe would be able to catch that, and it didn't look like he missed it by that much. Game of inches and all.
 

JimD

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This probably qualifies as looking for the slimmest of silver linings, but if the Red Sox were going to lose last night, I'm glad it happened in nine innings as opposed to going multiple extra innings and burning through relievers that we are going to need today with Sale starting.
 

allmanbro

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Passan keeps quoting the total number of missed calls (and how balanced that was), but to my eye, he had pretty clearly established a wide zone, that both teams were pitching to. Which means the correctly called balls that are close are the anomalies. It also makes the pitch to Castro more egregious against the established zone. I will never understand why people claim to like this kind of 'human element' where you ahve to think this way.

It feels weird, but the benefit of having Sale and Houk both ready for tomorrow is that really only one of them needs to pitch well, as long as the other can avoid a 5 run inning. There are a lot of ways it could work out such that you get 6 decent innings between them.
 

bosockboy

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Passan keeps quoting the total number of missed calls (and how balanced that was), but to my eye, he had pretty clearly established a wide zone, that both teams were pitching to. Which means the correctly called balls that are close are the anomalies. It also makes the pitch to Castro more egregious against the established zone. I will never understand why people claim to like this kind of 'human element' where you ahve to think this way.

It feels weird, but the benefit of having Sale and Houk both ready for tomorrow is that really only one of them needs to pitch well, as long as the other can avoid a 5 run inning. There are a lot of ways it could work out such that you get 6 decent innings between them.
Yes, and even after last night, we have a lot more bullpen bullets available. Getting to Valdez early is the key.
 

Archer1979

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I understand that Pressly was already hot, but having him throw 22 pitches when up 7 seemed like a mistake to me. Probably makes him a one inning pitcher tonight instead of possibly giving them 2. I know he's only gone 2 innings three times this season, but this is a pretty important game.
He hadn't had much work since the first game. It may have been as much to keep him sharp as it was that he was already warm from when the score was close.
 

cshea

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FWIW, I thought the strike 3 to Martinez in the 3rd was far worse of a call than the Eovaldi ball in the 9th, though it won't get the same headlines because it's Eovaldi one literally cost them the go ahead run (and then the wheels fell off). They would've had 1st and 2nd, 1 out with Renfroe up with Javier having walked two in a row. No guarantee they score of course but there could've been a significant trickle down if Javier had to throw an extra 15-20 pitches to get out of the 3rd.
 

tims4wins

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Dusty saved the game last night when he pulled Greinke. What's interesting to me is that he let game 3 get away the way he did. Did he just learn from his mistake? It almost felt like he was punting game 3 when he didn't make a move for the Schwarber GS at bat
 

BaseballJones

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Houston's starting pitching this series:

Valdez: 2.2 ip, 6 h, 3 r, 2 er, 3 bb, 2 k
Garcia: 1.0 ip, 2 h, 5 r, 5 er, 3 bb, 2 k
Urquidy: 1.2 ip, 5 h, 6 r, 5 er, 2 bb, 1 k
Greinke: 1.1 ip, 1 h, 2 r, 2 er, 3 bb, 0 k

TOT: 6.2 ip, 14 h, 16 r, 14 er, 11 bb, 5 k, 18.90 era, 3.75 whip

And the Astros are somehow tied with the Red Sox 2 games to 2.
 

RedOctober3829

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Game 4(not factoring in Eovaldi as he's not in play tonight and who cares about Perez)

Taylor 0.2 IP 6 pitches
Ottavino 0.1 4 pitches
Whitlock 2 IP 26 pitches

Game 3
Robles 1.0 IP 9 pitches
Sawamura 1 IP 10 pitches

Houston
Game 4

Raley 0.2 IP 16 pitches
Javier 3 IP 57 pitches
Maton 1 IP 10 pitches
Graveman 2 IP 30 pitches
Pressly 1 IP 22 pitches

Game 3
Y Garcia 1.1 IP 30 pitches
B. Taylor 1 IP 20 pitches
Raley 1.2 IP 27 pitches
Maton 1.1 IP 12 pitches
Stanek 1 IP 14 pitches

Looking at the relievers used the past 2 days, it looks like the Red Sox have a clear advantage. All of the Red Sox high leverage guys should be available tonight however Whitlock may be a question mark given how they've handled him. Maybe for 3 batters. For Houston, Javier is probably down. Raley has 43 pitches over the last 2 days. Maton has pitched 2 days in a row. Graveman is in the same boat as Whitlock. Pressly threw 22 pitches. He had to have been warm already for him to pitch the 9th up 9-2.

If the Sox can get to Valdez, I fail to see who Houston can bring in early to give them a lot of length unless they burn Odorizzi again.
 

BaseballJones

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Houston will find a way to piece it together. Hopefully Boston's bats pummel whoever is there, but they've got enough good pitchers to figure it out.
 

BaseballJones

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Do they though? Javier is a nice bridge piece, but he's not available tonight. Raley will be on fumes. We need to get to Valdez early to test this out.
Well definitely, for a lot of reasons, the Sox' prospects for victory improve if they can pound Valdez and knock him out early.
 

joe dokes

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FWIW, I thought the strike 3 to Martinez in the 3rd was far worse of a call than the Eovaldi ball in the 9th, though it won't get the same headlines because it's Eovaldi one literally cost them the go ahead run (and then the wheels fell off). They would've had 1st and 2nd, 1 out with Renfroe up with Javier having walked two in a row. No guarantee they score of course but there could've been a significant trickle down if Javier had to throw an extra 15-20 pitches to get out of the 3rd.
Same here. Im guessing the only reason Cora didn't get run was because Diaz knew.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Dusty saved the game last night when he pulled Greinke. What's interesting to me is that he let game 3 get away the way he did. Did he just learn from his mistake? It almost felt like he was punting game 3 when he didn't make a move for the Schwarber GS at bat
I don't know if he punted so much as was desperately hoping Urquidy could give him length and he was treating him like a normal starter. With Greinke, he knew he could only get 40-45 pitches so he was better prepared for a quick hook.

I think that made the difference with the Red Sox offense. Baker went to his best high-leverage guys early and rode them whereas he didn't get (or take) that chance in Game 3. Which bodes well for tonight if the Sox can get to Valdez early because it's the lower leverage guys who are more rested and will be the more likely guys Dusty has to use to cover innings.
 
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The biggest advantage the sox have is that Javier is likely unavailable tonight. Graveman is probably available, but not more than an inning. That leaves a lot of innings for an undermanned pen if Valdez isn't effective.
 

tims4wins

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I don't know if he punted so much as was desperately hoping Urquidy could give him length and he was treating him like a normal starter. With Greinke, he knew he could only get 40-45 pitches so he was better prepared for a quick hook.

I think that made the difference with the Red Sox offense. Baker went to his best high-leverage guys early and rode them whereas he didn't get (or take) that chance in Game 3. Which bodes well for tonight if the Sox can get to Valdez early because it's the lower leverage guys who are more rested and will be the more likely guys Dusty has to use to cover innings.
Agreed, he treated them very differently. Totally agree with your point about getting into the pen early today. It is crucial.