“Maldonado, after the game yesterday, just gave us a little speech about ‘Keep fighting,’” McCormick said prior to Game 4. “These guys have been in this position before [for] a couple of years. We're going to keep playing hard, and we're pretty pumped to play tonight.”
The Astros trailed the 2020 ALCS against the Rays, 3-0, before rallying to force a Game 7, which Tampa Bay won to advance to the World Series. McCormick said the pep talk from Maldonado and Odorizzi pumped up the team after a second consecutive lopsided loss to the Red Sox, who own a 2-1 series lead.
“Those guys are leaders,” McCormick said. “Obviously, we listen to them every single day, [Odorizzi] and Maldonado. I really appreciate that, as a person and probably even as a team, that they talked to us after the game as a unit, and just told us to keep going, stay strong. We've been in this position before. It means a lot. I think it was really good for us to hear that last night.”
After the Astros lost three consecutive games at Yankee Stadium in the 2017 ALCS to fall behind, 3-2, veteran catcher Brian McCann and veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltrán spoke up in a team meeting and reminded their teammates the series was far from over. The Astros won Games 6 and 7 in Houston and advanced to the World Series.
Meyers still not ready
Rookie center fielder Jake Meyers was originally in manager Dusty Baker’s lineup for Game 4 before the club determined Meyers wasn’t physically able to play. McCormick, who started Games 1 and 2, got the nod in Meyers' place.
Meyers hasn’t played since slamming his left shoulder into the outfield wall during Game 4 of the AL Division Series against the White Sox. Houston has been coy with the extent of the injury, though Baker said his outfielder is available to play in Game 4.
“He looked good, but not himself yet,” Baker said.
Meyers, who played in 49 regular-season games, and McCormick, who played in 108, accounted for a combined 3.0 WAR, per FanGraphs, while producing a collective slash line of .258/.330/.440 (.769 OPS). Overall, Astros center fielders accounted for the second-most WAR in baseball this season, behind only St. Louis.