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MLB – American League Championship Series Intrigue on the rise



HOUSTON – Nathan Eovaldi is just the second-best bowler who can throw 100 miles an hour (19459003) and from Alvin, Texas.

That's no insult.

The other is Nolan Ryan.

Alvin is a city of 26,000, located 30 miles south of Houston. A local highway is named according to the Nolan Ryan Expressway. Eovaldi said the local McDonalds even had some Nolan Ryan baseball bats and a picture of Ryan battling Robin Ventura.

From the first bar of each row to the last of Game 7, you can catch the entire MLB postseason on ESPN Radio. Listen »

Eovaldi, who grew up playing Astros games and even participated in a high school tournament in Minute Maid Park, met Ryan playing for the New York Yankees and perhaps the biggest game of his career was the legend that often sits behind the home plate in Astros games.

Eovaldi, on the other hand, is more anxious to figure out how to beat the Astros in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series than to scan the crowd for Ryan

"I feel like I'm going out and doing my job Zone attack, get the first blow, no free bases, no walks, give up such things push yourself out a bit, "said the Boston Red Sox on Monday. "But I know you'll be loud here, and I feel like the roof is closed, it's getting louder, so I'm definitely looking forward to rebel in the circumstances, but just trying to dictate the counts Stay in control. "

Eovaldi, 28, did just that in Game 3 of the Division Series against the Yankees when he held his former team over seven innings at a time. His fastball reached eleven times three-digit numbers on this trip, including the final climb of his run. If he masters this fastball and delivers swing-and-miss curveballs and sliders, Eovaldi is certainly capable of a lights-out game, so the Red Sox have a good chance of getting a 2-1

lead on Tuesday.

Eovaldi follows left Chris Sale and David Price for the Red Sox, and this is notable because the Astros Righties beat much worse than left-handers, with an OPS 70 points lower. With that mind – and the row of hard-throwing right-handers in the Boston Bullpen – A.J. Hinch will get some extra left in the Houston lineup for Game 3. Brian McCann will take on the catching duties, and Tony Kemp will get the start either in the left field or DH (depending on whether Jose Altuve plays second base or DHs (19659002). This could also be Dallas Keuchel's last start in an Astros uniform. He's a post-season free agent, and the Astros are poised to crack Josh James and Forrest Whitley in 2019, possibly relieving lefty veterans of spending money elsewhere.

With Dallas Keuchel to be freed Agent, his future with the Astros is uncertain. Cooper Neill / MLB Photos About Getty Images

The winner of Cy Young 2015 has given a little thought during his Monday press conference, without going directly to the

"As you get older, it's more of a time to appreciate things, and when you're younger … I think time flies faster when you're young he's just because you do not know the routine as well as you do when you're older and you're kind of settling in, "he said. "That's why I'm telling some of the younger guys, 'Hey, you have to value that as much as possible,' 'cause I have two 100-loss seasons behind us and we pack our stuff very early compared to the other teams in the playoffs. "

Oh, plus Alex Bregman posted a video on his Instagram report on the Astros beating Eovaldi in back-to-back home runs June when he beat for the Rays; Eovaldi [4] There were four homeruns in the game.

All of this creates a fascinating backdrop for Game 3 – and for the fascinating three games at Minute Maid. Related to this series are some keys:

Battle of the Bullpens. It will be interesting to see how fast both executives are going to their rates, Eovaldi's effort against the Yankees was dominant, but in his 11 regular season seasons with the Red Sox, he managed it only two more times six innings (both were also against the Yankees) Meanwhile, Hinch was more willing to win Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole for a few extra outs than he could with Keuchel or Game-4 starter Charlie Morton Verlander after one narrowed back to fifth in the sixth inning, and Cole took six innings in the first three after six runs.

"These are tough guys who need to be taken out of the game because they are really good at the end of their trips," Hinch said on Sunday. "It's not all up for every starter jug, if you have the right matchup and you have the player who can come back from a tough inning, some guys can handle it mentally, some guys can not … I know mine I watch them, I see their face reactions, I know how they operate in the shelter. "

Red Sox manager Alex Cora is in a slightly more difficult situation because his bullpen is not so deep Chris Sale Health stays in the background after an overnight stay in the hospital for a stomach disorder. Cora will know more on Tuesday when Sale comes back into the team, but there is the added concern for Sale & # 39; s commands and drop-in speed in Game 1, a possible sign that his shoulder pain is still a problem ,

Plus the teams will play for the first time in the postseason three days in a row. "So maybe a little dilemma for me or Alex when it comes to how we deal with the bullpen in the first game, depending on who's in front and who's behind it, that can be quite exhausting for three consecutive days, guys," Hinch said , "But you manage to win the game."

Hinch even dropped a word that he was not surprised to see Rick Porcello relieved again – which is possible because Cora still has Eduardo Rodriguez in his back pocket of potential starters.

Will the Red Sox pitch be Alex Bregman? Bregman has run six games in two games and was also beaten by a throw. Including the three ALDS games, he has scored 17 times in 24 plate appearances and just missed a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of Game 2. The Red Sox are obviously very cautious with him:

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Cora said the game plan will not change. Bregman has completed 95 jumps in the regular season, so he has the patience to continue taking free tickets and avoiding the expansion of the zone. This means continued pressure on the clean-up Yuli Gurriel and the boys after him to pay and pay the Red Sox for running Bregman.

Defense counts. If you like baseball tactics, you may think that the victim's decline and the slugfest have removed some of the science from the game. Not at all. Just as television broadcasting allows you to notice, you appreciate the constant defensive alignments that the two clubs make use of depending on the dough and the situation – especially the astros that have transformed defensive positioning into an art form.

Against Christian Vazquez, for example, Houston's left fielder moved far to midfield. The midfielder was in the right field and right fielder Josh Reddick seemed to be 10 feet behind Altuve.

"You look behind and there are about 100 feet behind me at Fenway Park," said Reddick. "So it's definitely nerve-wracking, but our boys take a lot of time to break the boys' swings and their tendency is to hit balls in certain areas of the field." Our boys in the analytic room work day and night even on flights, in and out to make sure everything is alright. "

In the outfield, Reddick said he relies on coach Gary Pettis, but the club also gives players some flexibility to think for themselves. "If he tells me to move, I'll go," said Reddick. "And when I see something, he has the willingness to let me move when I see something on the swing."

2 Related

The first two games were obviously atypically sloppy for these teams – walks, mistakes, passed balls, hit balls, wild pitches, 3-2 counts in apparently every racket. The games that were not made were crucial: Eduardo Nunez's mistakes and the inability to step down to his left to set up George Springs Hard Grounder led to three runs in Game 1; Cole's throwing errors and Martin Maldonado's overtaken balls injured Houston in Game 2 as did Marwin Gonzalez's inability to make a difficult run as he battled against the green monster.

During the regular season, the Astros Plus-26 defensive were credited with saved runs and the Red Sox minus 31 (though Ultimate Zone rating, the Red Sox has run at plus-25.3 and the Astros at minus-12.5). Minute Maid offers some unique outfield challenges with the angles away from the Crawford boxes in the left center and the shorter power lanes the outfielders tied together (though it's 409 to the middle). Bregman was the only defender – Verlander called him a "human vacuum cleaner" – but let's hope a game makes a big game instead of a bad game.

Can Craig Kimbrel locks in ninth place. Kimbrel has completed at least one run in three postseason games – three parades, but three tightrope walkers who do not trigger confidence. In fact, in 2017 he has allowed runs in four consecutive postseason runs. Kimbrel had run only twice in a row in three consecutive games in his career – in 2012 and in August this season. The good news for Red Sox fans: He has never let run in four games in a row.


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