Valdez gets nod to start World Series G1

October 25th, 2021

HOUSTON -- Not surprisingly, Astros manager Dusty Baker tabbed left-hander to start Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night against the Braves at Minute Maid Park. Valdez, who threw eight innings of one-run ball in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series in Boston on Wednesday, will be starting on regular rest.

Baker didn’t commit to naming any starters beyond that, but it’s expected that rookie right-hander Luis Garcia will start Game 2 on Wednesday and right-hander José Urquidy will take the ball in Game 3 on Friday in Atlanta. Zack Greinke started Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday, throwing 1 1/3 innings, so he figures to be in the mix to start Game 4 of the World Series, too.

Greinke was dropped from the playoff rotation for the AL Division Series against the White Sox after he spent two stints on the injured list in September and wasn’t built up to pitch deep. But with Lance McCullers Jr. getting injured in the ALDS, the Astros needed Greinke to return to the rotation.

Greinke threw 50-plus pitches during a live batting practice session on Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.

“I like what I saw,” pitching coach Brent Strom said. “He threw all of his pitches and he got his work in. I feel very, very bullish about Zack helping us this Series.”

Meyers’ status in doubt
The status of Astros center fielder Jake Meyers remains in doubt as the World Series nears. The Astros carried the rookie on their ALCS roster despite a left shoulder injury he sustained crashing into the wall in Chicago when the Astros clinched the ALDS in Game 4. There was an expectation that Meyers would be recovered at some point during the ALCS, but he suffered a setback.

“You just don’t heal overnight,” Baker said. “We’ll make a decision on him after we have our roster meetings.”

The Astros couldn’t replace Meyers on their ALCS roster because the injury occurred before the series started, but he was available to pinch-hit and pinch-run later in the series. He wasn’t available to play defense because of his throwing. Still, Houston didn’t skip a beat in center with Chas McCormick starting four games and Jose Siri starting twice.