Marwin added to WS roster; Meyers off

October 26th, 2021

HOUSTON -- , who hit perhaps the biggest home run in Astros history in Game 2 of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium, was added to Houston’s World Series roster ahead of Game 1 against the Braves on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park. Gonzalez, who wasn’t on the roster for the American League Division Series or Championship Series, replaced injured outfielder Jake Meyers.

“The decision was Meyers is not healthy to play,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “[Gonzalez] gives me a lot of flexibility in positions, and he has World Series experience, so you know he's not going to be in awe of the game or the situation.”

Gonzalez hasn’t played in a game since Oct. 3, the final day of the regular season. But he said he has been working out every day in the cage and on the field to be ready.

“It was good news for me,” Gonzalez said. “I’m happy to be there. I was already happy by being here, and even though I was off the roster, I was helping the guys in any way I could, with videos and all that kind of stuff and rooting for them. I mean, being here is different. This is a special feeling.”

Gonzalez, signed by the Astros on Aug. 27 after he was designated for assignment by the Red Sox, will give Baker a switch-hitting pinch-hit option off the bench, especially against the lefties in the back of Atlanta’s bullpen. Gonzalez hit much better against left-handers (.713 OPS) than right-handers (.521 OPS) in the regular season.

“You’ve got to be ready for any situation,” Gonzalez said. “With the pitchers hitting in Atlanta, there’s a good chance there’s going to be a lot of movement, and everybody needs to be ready.”

Meyers injured his left shoulder crashing into the wall in Game 4 of the ALDS in Chicago and didn’t play in the ALCS. He has been added to Houston’s taxi squad.

Gonzalez hit a tying home run in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium, a game the Astros won, 7-6, in 11 innings en route to a seven-game victory. When asked if he has one more big swing in him, Gonzalez said, “I hope so.”

The substitution of Gonzalez for Meyers was Houston’s only roster change from the ALCS.

Astros World Series roster:
C: Martín Maldonado, Jason Castro
1B: Yuli Gurriel
2B: Jose Altuve
3B: Alex Bregman
SS: Carlos Correa
INF: Aledmys Díaz, Marwin Gonzalez
DH: Yordan Alvarez
LF: Michael Brantley
CF: Chas McCormick
RF: Kyle Tucker
OF: Jose Siri

Pitchers: Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, José Urquidy, Cristian Javier, Ryan Pressly, Kendall Graveman, Ryne Stanek, Phil Maton, Zack Greinke, Yimi García, Brooks Raley, Jake Odorizzi and Blake Taylor.

Martín Maldonado, starting catcher: Maldonado proved his worth behind the plate when he orchestrated a monumental strike-’em out, throw-’em double play in the seventh inning of the Astros’ 5-0 clinching win over the Red Sox in Game 6 of the ALCS. His defense is why he plays, despite being 2-for-29 in the postseason, including 1-for-14 in the ALCS. He caught the second-most innings in the Major Leagues in the regular season and ranked third in caught-stealing percentage (39.6). Astros pitching coach Brent Strom said Maldonado is the team MVP.

Jason Castro, backup catcher: Castro appeared in one game in the ALDS and three games in the ALCS, going 2-for-4, including the biggest hit of his career -- a two-out, two-strike single in the seventh inning of Game 4 of the ALCS off Nathan Eovaldi that tied the game and sparked a seven-run rally. Castro likely won’t start any games for the Astros in the World Series, but figures to get some pinch-hit at-bats.

Yuli Gurriel, starting first baseman: One of the best defensive first basemen in the game, Gurriel, 37, has enjoyed a bounceback year at the plate, becoming the second Astros player to win a batting title by leading the AL with a .319 average. He was the Astros’ second-best hitter in the ALCS, going 10-for-22 (.455) while playing a Gold Glove-caliber first base.

Jose Altuve, starting second baseman: Altuve, who was named to his seventh All-Star team this year, isn’t the offensive player he once was, but he tied a career high in homers (31), while taking over for George Springer in the leadoff spot. He’s one of the most experienced postseason players in the game and is third all-time with 21 playoff homers, including his pennant-clinching walk-off against the Yankees in 2019. He went 3-for-24 in the ALCS, but had two game-tying homers.

Carlos Correa, starting shortstop: If the name “Mr. October” weren't already taken, it could apply to Correa, who’s one of the most clutch playoff performers in history. He’s tied for seventh all-time with 18 career postseason homers across five seasons. Correa, a free agent at the end of the year, had one of his best years offensively in 2021, hitting a career-high 26 homers, while managing to remain healthy and in the lineup. He also continues to play at an elite level at shortstop and is unquestionably the Astros’ leader on and off the field. And he’s only 27 years old.

Alex Bregman, starting third baseman: Bregman, who was 5-for-23 in the ALCS, missed 59 games in the middle of the season while overcoming a strained quad, but he has been a productive and dangerous player when healthy. He has hit 12 career postseason homers, all but one off All-Star pitchers, including Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Blake Snell, Chris Bassitt and two off Stephen Strasburg in the 2019 World Series. Bregman revels in big moments and big situations and always plays with a chip on his shoulder.

Michael Brantley, starting left fielder: Brantley went 7-for-26 in the ALCS with one extra-base hit. He started the last five games in left field after lining up at DH in Game 1, but figures to be pushed to right field when the Astros lose the DH in Games 3-5 in Atlanta. DH Yordan Alvarez is likely to start in left field and Kyle Tucker in center at Truist Park.

Kyle Tucker, starting right fielder: Tucker’s three-run homer in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS cemented the pennant for the Astros. Tucker was 6-for-23 in the ALCS with two homers and eight RBIs, and he leads the Astros in those categories (four homers, 15 RBIs) in 10 playoff games this season. In the regular season, Tucker finished third in the AL in OPS behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Shohei Ohtani at .917, hit a career-high 30 homers and was named the AL Player of the Month for September.

Yordan Alvarez, designated hitter: Alvarez became the second DH to win MVP of the ALCS after going 12-for-23 (.522) against the Red Sox with a homer and six RBIs. He’s 15-for-34 (.441) with two homers and nine RBIs this postseason. Alvarez, who led the team in homers (33) and RBIs (104) in the regular season, will start at DH in Games 1, 2 and 6 and 7 and likely will start in left field in the middle three games in Atlanta, where there’s no DH.

Aledmys Díaz, utility infielder: Díaz will be the Astros’ first position player off the bench and first pinch-hit option; he got one at-bat in the ALDS and two in the ALCS. He can play left field and all four infield positions, so he will be a valuable asset for Dusty Baker and his coaching staff in the World Series. Expect him to pinch-hit if the Astros decide to hit for Maldonado at some point. Díaz missed 41 games because of a broken left hand sustained in June, but he slashed .337/.368/.525 with four homers and 19 RBIs in his first 24 games after returning in late July.

, utility infielder: Gonzalez is pretty much an Astros legend for what he did during the club’s playoff run in 2017, which included a massive game-tying homer in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium. But his return to Houston -- which signed him to a Minor League deal on Aug. 27, after he was designated for assignment by the Red Sox -- was less than inspiring. Gonzalez went 5-for-34 with three homers for the Astros, including a grand slam. His ability to play all over the field and pinch-hit from the right side landed him a roster spot.

Jose Siri, backup outfielder: Siri made two starts in the ALCS in center field and had a two-run single in the Astros’ 9-1 win over the Red Sox in Game 5. With Meyers off the World Series roster, Siri will remain second on the depth chart behind Chas McCormick.

Chas McCormick, backup outfielder: McCormick started four of the six games in the ALCS in center and should get most of the starts in the World Series with Meyers out. McCormick went 4-for-14 in the ALCS, but has played an elite center field, including a diving catch in Game 6 against the Red Sox to rob Kiké Hernandez of a hit.

Framber Valdez, starting pitcher: Valdez becomes the fourth pitcher in franchise history to start Game 1 of the World Series, joining Roger Clemens (2005), Dallas Keuchel (2017) and Gerrit Cole (2019). The lefty threw eight innings of one-run ball in Game 5 of the ALCS on Wednesday and will be pitching on five days’ rest. He would also likely start Game 6 in Houston. In the regular season, he went 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 134 2/3 innings, allowing 110 hits (12 homers) and 58 walks with 125 strikeouts.

José Urquidy, starting pitcher: Urquidy, who burst onto the scene in Game 4 of the 2019 World Series with five scoreless innings on the road against the Nationals, will likely start Game 3 of the World Series in Atlanta. He would have started Game 7 of this year’s ALCS had the Astros not closed it out in six games. He gave up five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings in Game 3 against the Red Sox, but didn’t get a chance to rebound like Framber Valdez did in Game 5 and Luis Garcia in Game 6.

Luis Garcia, starting pitcher: Garcia, who’ll likely get some AL Rookie of the Year Award votes, carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of the Astros’ series-clinching win over the Red Sox in Game 6. That came after a disastrous start in Game 2 in which he gave up five runs in one inning and left with a knee strain. He should start Game 2 and Game 6 of the World Series.

Zack Greinke, starting pitcher: Greinke threw one scoreless inning in relief in the ALDS and allowed two runs in 1 1/3 innings in a Game 4 start of the ALCS. He’s likely the Astros’ Game 4 starter in the World Series and the club will hope to push him a little more. He threw a 50-plus pitch simulated game at Minute Maid Park on Sunday in preparation for his World Series start. He made his first relief appearance since 2007 in the regular-season finale on Oct. 3 and allowed two runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Ryan Pressly, closer: One of the best closers in baseball, Pressly appeared in three games in the ALCS and recorded one save -- the Astros had comfortable victories in the other three wins. He’s probably the best relief pitcher in either bullpen in the World Series and was an All-Star for the second time in 2021. He averaged 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings and posted an 0.97 WHIP while converting 26 of 28 saves.

Kendall Graveman, setup man: Graveman was acquired in a July trade with the Mariners to be the Astros’ eighth-inning setup man, helping them bridge the gap to Pressly more efficiently. He’s found his stride in the playoffs by throwing four scoreless innings in the ALCS with two walks, two hits allowed and five strikeouts. He’s allowed one run in seven innings in the playoffs this year.

Ryne Stanek, setup: The Astros have used Stanek and fellow setup man Kendall Graveman a little more interchangeably in the playoffs, but they are the late-inning bridge to closer Ryan Pressly. Stanek allowed one run and two hits in 4 1/3 innings in the ALCS and one run in 6 2/3 innings combined in the postseason.

Yimi García, reliever: García, who came over in a July trade from the Marlins, hasn’t pitched since allowing three runs in Game 3 of the ALCS. He gave up a key homer in Game 3 of the ALDS, but got some huge outs in Game 4. In the regular season, he had a 5.48 ERA with the Astros, and he allowed three homers in 21 1/3 innings. You can expect Dusty Baker to use him in key situations against righties, who posted a .587 OPS against him this year.

Phil Maton, reliever: Another midseason trade acquisition, Maton struggled in the regular season, posting a 4.97 ERA and 1.58 WHIP with the Astros, but has been stellar in the playoffs. He’s allowed one run and two hits and struck out six batters in 6 2/3 innings. He’s a right-handed weapon who can get lefty hitters out.

Jake Odorizzi, long relief: After being left off the ALDS roster, Odorizzi was added to the ALCS roster and pitched in one game in relief against Boston. He “sucked up” four innings in a Game 2 loss to Boston, allowing four runs, and allowed the Astros to rest some other relievers, which played a role in Houston’s bullpen being able to throw 12 scoreless innings over the final three games of the ALCS. Odorizzi could loom large in Game 4, when Zack Greinke starts. Greinke might be only able to pitch three or four innings tops.

Brooks Raley, lefty specialist: Raley was used as a more traditional left-handed specialist in the second half of the season. He still has a penchant for giving up homers, but he has swing-and-miss stuff and thrives off soft contact. In the ALCS, he gave up one run in three innings.

Blake Taylor, lefty specialist: Taylor threw twice in the ALCS, logging 1 2/3 innings in a blowout loss in Game 2 and one inning in a Game 3 loss. He’ll likely be used in a key spot against a lefty (but not before Brooks Raley) or if a game is out of hand. Taylor can get some swings and misses on his slider and he pitched better in the second half (2.35 ERA) than he did in the first half (4.12 ERA).

Cristian Javier, reliever: The Astros moved Javier to the bullpen early in the season because they had a wealth of starting pitching, but they struggled to find a consistent role for him. He has emerged as a multi-inning weapon in the playoffs, throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings in the playoffs with outings of 2 2/3 innings in Game 3 of the ALDS, two innings in Game 1 of the ALCS and three innings in Game 4 of the ALCS.