Astros shortstop Carlos Correa has shouted on the field throughout these playoffs that the postseason is “his time.” He has emphasized this by tapping his wrist -- as if he’s wearing an imaginary watch -- whenever he has come through with big hits.
With seven home runs and a 1.147 OPS through his previous 20 playoff games, Correa has certainly has had plenty of reasons to celebrate.
But Game 3 of the American League Championship Series was Eduardo Rodriguez’s time, and he let Correa know it. The Red Sox lefty limited Houston to three runs over six innings in a victory Monday night that gave Boston a 2-1 lead. He got Correa to ground out to second to end his outing, and as Rodriguez walked off the mound, he looked at Correa and mimicked the Astros' star by tapping on his right wrist.
The reaction to Rodriguez’s gesture was split. Correa said he “loved it,” adding that baseball “should move in that direction where you can show emotions and you can be yourself and you can keep it real.”
"He did my celebration; I thought it was kind of cool," Correa said Monday. "It’s just the way baseball is trending moving forward. We talk about making baseball fun, we talk about baseball growing and more people coming to watch the sport. You need things like that. You need to let the players have fun. I love it, personally."
Red Sox manager Alex Cora, conversely, was not a fan. He yelled “No!” multiple times at his starter as Rodriguez made his way to the dugout. When the two met, Cora leaned toward Rodriguez and gave him a message.
“We don't act that way,” Cora said after the game. “We just show up, we play and we move on, and he knows. I let him know. We don't have to do that. If we're looking for motivation outside of what we're trying to accomplish, we're in the wrong business. The only motivation we have is to win four games against them and move on to the next round.”
The Red Sox have averaged more than seven runs per game during the postseason, and if the Astros can’t find a way to quiet those bats, their time in the 2021 playoffs will run out in short order.
Correa had no problem giving credit where it was due.
"[Rodriguez] pitched a great game. He threw six innings, struck out like seven. He was nasty. His fastball command was great," Correa said. "So, whenever you have a great performance like that against the No. 1 offense team in the regular season, you can do whatever you want, and you should have fun with it.”