Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Bullpen fresh after back-to-back deep starts

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

NEW YORK -- Justin Verlander's 124-pitch complete game in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World, combined with Sunday's off-day, gives Astros manager A.J. Hinch a completely rested bullpen heading into tonight's Game 3 against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Hinch has used Chris Devenski in four of the team's six postseason games, while closer Ken Giles has thrown in three. Giles needed 37 pitches over 1 2/3 innings to notch the save in Game 1 and has had two days off since. Will Harris has appeared in only one game during the postseason, and Collin McHugh is also available in relief for a possible stretch of three consecutive games without a day off.

NEW YORK -- Justin Verlander's 124-pitch complete game in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World, combined with Sunday's off-day, gives Astros manager A.J. Hinch a completely rested bullpen heading into tonight's Game 3 against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Hinch has used Chris Devenski in four of the team's six postseason games, while closer Ken Giles has thrown in three. Giles needed 37 pitches over 1 2/3 innings to notch the save in Game 1 and has had two days off since. Will Harris has appeared in only one game during the postseason, and Collin McHugh is also available in relief for a possible stretch of three consecutive games without a day off.

:: ALCS schedule and coverage ::

"Obviously, how it played out is perfectly great for us," Hinch said. "We have a 2-0 lead, both of our top two [starters Dallas Keuchel and Verlander] go deep in the game and pitch very well, Ken Giles closed out a very exciting win. And other than that, there hasn't been a ton of pitching out of the bullpen that's been necessary. … The type of two starts that we've gotten, it's pretty obvious it's been a little bit of a surprising lack of pitching usage."

Cora garnering interest
Hinch said he was granted permission from the Red Sox to confirm that bench coach Alex Cora interviewed on Sunday for Boston's vacant managerial opening. Cora interviewed in New York with Boston president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

"We're happy for him," Hinch said. "I don't have any details; I'm not going to give any details. Obviously, there's some managerial jobs that are open, but we did allow him to interview because he's certainly a top candidate around the game to be a manager.

"It's not a distraction. Our team is well aware. He's very committed to what we're doing here in the League Championship Series."

Cora, in his first season as bench coach in Houston, figured to be a hot commodity for any managerial openings this winter. In addition to the Red Sox, the Mets, Phillies and Tigers have openings for a manager.

• Dress for the ALCS: Get Astros postseason gear

Cora has a diverse resume that includes jobs as a baseball analyst on ESPN and the general manager of a team in his hometown, as well as the Puerto Rican team that participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. That's on top of a 14-year Major League career with six teams. Cora played for the Red Sox from 2005-08.

Video: ALCS Gm3: Hinch on Cora's interview with Red Sox

Game 4 starter TBD
Lance McCullers Jr. and Brad Peacock -- both right-handers -- are candidates to start Tuesday's Game 4. Right-hander Sonny Gray is starting for New York.

Hinch said Peacock, who started Game 3 of the AL Division Series presented by Doosan in Boston a week ago, would be available out of the Houston bullpen on Monday, if needed, and that could determine his availability to start on Tuesday.

Peacock gave up three runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Red Sox in the ALDS. McCullers came out of the bullpen in that game, making his first career relief appearance and allowing two runs on three hits in three innings.

Video: HOU@BOS Gm3: McCullers Jr. tosses three-plus innings

"For us, we just don't need to commit yet to Game 4 until we get to Game 3," Hinch said. "Good example being [Saturday], when Justin Verlander goes nine innings, and had the game continued, Brad Peacock was on a short list of going into the game, and perhaps [pitching] the 10th or 11th."

McCullers, an All-Star in the first half, started only three games in the final two months of the season as he battled back and shoulder injuries.

"The ALCS in New York, that's kind of what you dream of growing up, right?" McCullers said.

Marisnick progressing 
Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick, whose regular season came to an end on Sept. 13 when he fractured his right thumb while sliding into second base in Anaheim, threw a baseball on Sunday at Yankee Stadium for the first time since undergoing surgery. There's a slim chance Marisnick could be available if the Astros reach the World Series.

Tweet from @astros: Workout time. 🎧 pic.twitter.com/BlddiSgfL9

"It went good," said Marisnick, who hit .243 and set career highs with 16 homers and 35 RBIs. "The first day on the field throwing and I'm easing back into it, trying to get that feel back of holding the baseball and throwing it."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Houston Astros