Astros-Mariners Game 3 lineups, FAQ (4 ET, TBS)
HOUSTON -- Can the Astros close out this American League Division Series and advance to play for the pennant for the sixth straight year? Or will the Mariners rebound from two brutal losses in Houston, reinvigorated by playing postseason baseball in front of their home fans for the first time in 21 years?
The standings in this best-of-five round show complete Houston dominance, but this back-and-forth has been much closer than it looks. The Mariners have shown resiliency all season in being able to flush even the most deflating defeats, but the Astros also won 106 games and have been the class of the field in the AL for years.
These teams don’t like each other, and there’ll be plenty of motivation from both sides heading into Game 3 at T-Mobile Park on Saturday.
When is the game and how can I watch it?
The ALDS will be carried on TBS.
All games are available in the US on MLB.TV (authentication to a participating Pay TV provider is required). Live games are also available in select countries outside the US. For full details click here.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Mariners: George Kirby (8-5, 3.39 ERA in regular season) will make his first postseason start. The right-hander made his playoff debut in Game 2 of the AL Wild Card Series, earning the save in his first Major League relief appearance. Kirby has made one career start vs. Houston, allowing two runs on four hits over four innings with one walk and seven strikeouts on July 31. Kirby’s 7.79 K/BB ratio through his first 20 starts is the highest in AL/NL history, excluding openers.
Astros: Lance McCullers Jr. (4-2, 2.27 in the regular season) was limited to eight starts due to a right flexor tendon injury, but he racked up 50 strikeouts and posted a .215 opponent average upon his return. McCullers has extensive postseason experience, going 2-2 with a save and a 2.83 ERA over 16 games (9 starts). He pitched twice in the 2021 ALDS vs. the White Sox prior to the flexor tendon injury and posted a 0.84 ERA in two Astros wins. He ranks second in club history in postseason innings pitched (57 1/3), trailing only Justin Verlander (93 1/3). McCullers is 10-3 with a 2.80 ERA in 18 career starts vs. the Mariners.
What are the starting lineups?
Mariners: Facing the righty McCullers, manager Scott Servais will revert to a lineup similar to what he deployed earlier this postseason, bringing Cal Raleigh back into the cleanup spot and putting Mitch Haniger ahead of the switch-hitting Carlos Santana. It worked well in their two-game Wild Card Series sweep in Toronto and against Verlander in Game 1.
1. Julio Rodríguez, CF
2. Ty France, 1B
3. Eugenio Suárez, 3B
4. Cal Raleigh, C
5. Mitch Haniger, RF
6. Carlos Santana, DH
7. Adam Frazier, 2B
8. Jarred Kelenic, LF
9. J.P. Crawford, SS
Astros: Houston doesn’t have much history against Kirby -- Christian Vázquez (2-for-4) and Trey Mancini (1-for-5) are the only batters with more than two at-bats against him. But Vázquez only worked with McCullers once this year, so Maldonado will start behind the plate again. Chas McCormick started Game 1, and he got the call in center field again.
1. Jose Altuve, 2B
2. Jeremy Peña, SS
3. Yordan Alvarez, LF
4. Alex Bregman, 3B
5. Kyle Tucker, RF
6. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
7. Trey Mancini, DH
8. Chas McCormick, CF
9. Martín Maldonado, C
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Mariners: Servais only used reliever Andrés Muñoz in Game 2. With an off-day Friday, this ‘pen should be rested for Game 3. Yet Muñoz has been tagged for a 5.79 ERA while pitching in all four of Seattle’s playoff games. Servais made it no secret that for the Mariners to advance, they’d need Muñoz and Paul Sewald to be at their best, and so far, both have stumbled in this ALDS. As for Robbie Ray, it seems wildly unlikely that he’ll be used again in this series after his Game 1 walk-off followed three disastrous starts against Houston during the regular season.
Astros: Considering Friday is an off-day, the Astros’ bullpen will be well-rested. Astros manager Dusty Baker has yet to use his best reliever -- Ryne Stanek -- in either of the first two games. Stanek has not pitched since Oct. 5. If the Astros can get six innings out of McCullers, they will have all four of their main high-leverage relievers lined up – Rafael Montero, Héctor Neris, Stanek and Pressly. If McCullers doesn’t pitch deep, starters-turned-relievers Hunter Brown, José Urquidy and Luis Garcia should be ready.
Any injuries of note?
Mariners: Other than the injuries that outfielders Jesse Winker and Sam Haggerty suffered during the final week of the regular season, the Mariners are healthy. The only scare they had was with Santana’s left hamstring, which cramped up during the AL Wild Card Series, but he’s been good to go against Houston.
Astros: Houston is as healthy as it's been all season. Outfielder Michael Brantley (shoulder surgery) and catcher Jason Castro (knee surgery) were ruled out for the season in June.
Who is hot and who is not?
Mariners: Julio Rodríguez went 1-for-5 in Game 2, but his hit was a 115.8 mph double, the hardest-hit ball of the game. He’s pumped to play in front of the home fans and has already shown that he’s wired for these big moments. … As for who’s not, it’s been the bullpen, which surrendered six runs across the first two games of the series.
Astros: Yordan Alvarez -- who else? He’s 4-for-8 with two go-ahead homers and seven RBIs in the first two games of the ALDS. … Jeremy Peña went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk as he collected three hits through his first two career postseason games … Jose Altuve is 0-for-8 through two ALDS games.
Anything else fans might want to know?
Mariners: Seattle will now need to win three in a row to advance. The last time the Mariners defeated their AL West rivals that many times consecutively was in August 2018, when they won five straight against the Astros.
Astros: The Astros have won 11 consecutive ALDS games at Minute Maid Park dating back to 2017. It is the longest home ALDS streak in history. … Alex Bregman has 63 career postseason hits, tying Mark Lemke for sixth all-time among third basemen in MLB history. … Alvarez is one of three players in history to hit multiple go-ahead homers in the sixth inning or later in a single Division Series. The others: Troy Glaus (2002) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1995). … The Astros have never lost a Division Series (5-0) after winning the first two games.