The Red Sox have turned the tables on the Astros in a big way in the last two games of this American League Championship Series after losing a nailbiter in Game 1.
Just as quickly as the Astros have lost the momentum, getting outscored, 21-8, in the last two contests, they will try to get it back. A Houston victory in Game 4 on Wednesday night would even this series up.
The Red Sox, who are smoking hot on offense, will try to prevent that from happening. To even the series, the Astros are going to have to figure out some way to piece together a quality pitching performance. Boston is confident, but not cocky.
“Like we always do, we turn the page. We'll be ready for tomorrow,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “That's a really good team out there. It's never comfortable with them. We got to be ready.”
When is the game and how can I watch it?
The game will air on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET/7 CT on Tuesday. It is also available to stream on MLB.TV with authentication.
What are the starting lineups?
Astros: The Astros gave center fielder Jose Siri a surprising start in Game 3, in part because Jake Meyers still isn’t 100 percent with his banged-up left shoulder. Game 4 saw Chas McCormick in the middle-outfield spot, while Martín Maldonado was back behind the dish despite a 2-for-39 hitting slump since Sept. 22, including a 1-for-21 performance in the playoffs so far.
Red Sox: The Red Sox aren’t going to change anything with their red-hot offense. Boston's bats have tallied 10 or more hits in their last six games, which is the longest such streak in postseason history. Cora will use the same lineup he used in Game 3.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Astros: With the Astros short on starters and desperate for a win, they will hand the ball to Zack Greinke (11-6, 4.16) to start Game 4. Greinke hasn’t started a game since throwing four innings on Sept. 19 against the D-backs, so he’s not stretched out to work deep into a game. He missed time in September, partially because of a neck issue and also because he dealt with a bout of COVID-19. Greinke has made eight career postseason starts for the Astros -- most notably, he started Game 7 of the '19 World Series against Washington and carried a shutout into the seventh inning before the Nationals rallied to win.
Red Sox: After turning in stellar performances out of the bullpen in the crucial final game of the regular season and in the Division Series against the Rays, righty Nick Pivetta (9-8, 4.53 ERA) moves back into the rotation for the first time in October. Though Pivetta was inconsistent at times this season, he had his share of dominant starts, giving up two earned runs or less on 15 occasions. One of Pivetta’s best starts was his only appearance against Houston, when he allowed two runs over six innings and struck out nine in a tough-luck, 2-1 loss on June 2.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter? Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Astros: This will essentially be a bullpen game for the Astros, considering Greinke hasn’t thrown more than 30 pitches since his last start, which came a month ago. He threw 68 pitches in four innings on Sept. 19, so he’s probably got two or three innings in him at most in Game 4. From there, expect Cristian Javier to be available to work two or three innings, with the Astros’ back-end relievers all available: Ryne Stanek, Kendall Graveman and Ryan Pressly. Yimi García (30 pitches in Game 3) and Brooks Raley (27 pitches) might not be available.
Red Sox: Not only did the Red Sox roll to victory in Game 3, but Cora needed just nine outs from the bullpen, and none from bullpen stopper Garrett Whitlock. Look for everyone to be available in relief on Tuesday; Chris Sale is available for an inning if needed, Cora said, but the lefty is more likely to start Game 5. If the Red Sox have a chance to win Game 4 and take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series, Cora will go for the jugular with his bullpen.
Any injuries of note?
Astros: Meyers has yet to play since crashing into the wall and injuring his left shoulder in Game 4 of the ALDS, but Baker hinted he could start in Game 4 of the ALCS. Starting pitcher Luis Garcia, who left his Game 2 start after three outs with a knee strain, threw a bullpen session Sunday in Houston and has appeared healed up. He could pitch in Game 5.
Red Sox: Not only are the Red Sox playing their best baseball of the season, but they are as healthy as they’ve been at any point. Only righty reliever Garrett Richards, who injured his left hamstring and was taken off the ALDS roster, is on the shelf.
Who is hot and who is not?
Astros: One Houston player who is not struggling offensively is Kyle Tucker, who knocked a three-run homer in Game 3 and has tallied 17 postseason RBIs in his still-young career. Tucker, who is tied with Hall of Famer Chipper Jones for sixth-most RBIs all time among players younger than 25, has four career postseason homers. On the flip side, we may see a little more of Castro in Games 4 and 5. Maldonado has one hit in 21 at-bats this postseason and is 0-for-6 in the ALCS.
Red Sox: In the hot category, take your pick. It seems like the Red Sox are all hot at once. Nobody is hotter than Hernández, who is hitting .500 (18-for-36) in the postseason with four doubles, five homers and nine RBIs. Hernández's five home runs are tied with Todd Walker (2003) and David Ortiz (2004, ‘13) for the all-time club record in a single postseason … Schwarber, fresh off a Game 3 grand slam, always seems hot this time of year. He has three homers this postseason and a .973 OPS in his postseason career … Rafael Devers is playing through right forearm discomfort? Maybe not quite so much anymore. Devers has four homers this postseason … The one Boston hitter who has yet to have a signature moment this October is right fielder Hunter Renfroe, who hammered 31 homers and had 96 RBIs in the regular season but has a .663 OPS with just one RBI in the ‘21 postseason.
Anything else fans might want to know?
The Red Sox are 4-0 at home in this postseason -- all while wearing their red jersey tops. In other words, the red jersey tops will be back for Game 4.
Yuli Gurriel was 2-for-3 in Game 3 and has 59 career postseason hits, extending his MLB record among Cuban-born players.
The Sox hit four homers in Game 3 to bring their postseason total to 20. That’s tied with the 2004 Astros for the most across a team’s first eight games of a postseason in MLB history. Boston’s 20 homers already match their franchise record for a single postseason, tying the 2003 club.
Boston’s Martinez is an RBI machine, with 30 of them in 27 postseason games. The only player who had more RBIs through the first 27 postseason games in a career? Lou Gehrig, who had 32.