The Astros have won four straight playoff games, taking Game 1 of the ALDS 10-5, and yesterday’s Game 2, 5-2, against the A’s. Carlos Correa was the hero Monday with two homers, and George Springer was the hero yesterday, also with two dingers. He now has more post-season home runs, 17, than Babe Ruth.
The Astros send Jose Urquidy to the mound to close out the A’s. Where’s Greinke? Sore arm. Uh-o. Urquidy will have to do.
Urquidy came into 2020 late do to a COVID diagnosis just before the season started. But in five starts Urquidy has had fine results, a 2.73 ERA, plus 4.1 innings against the Twins in the Wild Card Series allowing only one run.
A note of caution about Urquidy. He is a flyball pitcher, (53.8% of hit balls have been flies this year) who has not allowed a homer so far this year. Consequently, his xFIP is 5.36. According to Statcast, his wOBA is .274, but his xwOBA is .314. Let’s hope regression doesn’t happen today in a ballpark where the balls seem to be flying off the bat.
Urquidy will be facing Jesus Lazardo. Luzardo is 3-2 with a 4.12 ERA. But in eight games since August 14th, his ERA is 4.75. For the year, advanced stats favor Luzardo, a 3.88 xFIP compared to Urquidy’s 5.36. For Luzardo, wOBA and xwOBA are identical, .296.
The Astros are home team today in this neutral, empty stadium. That just means they bat last.
Dusty Baker made a change in the lineup, replacing Josh Reddick with Aledmys Diaz to face the lefty Luzardo. Strangely, the right-handed Diaz hits worse against lefties than righties, and worse against lefties than Reddick. (Diaz 86 wRC+ against lefties vs. Reddick, 92, career) But Diaz is much better against righties than the left-handed Reddick, 118-109.
Here’s the lineup.
Game 3: Wednesday, October 7th @ 2:35 CDT
Listen: Athletics - Bloomberg 960 AM, A’s Cast, ESPN Radio / Astros - ESPN Radio, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM
Watch: TBS, TBS-INT