It is said that after leading off a game and coming back to the dugout with the game’s first out, Derek Jeter would invariably tell his teammates, “that pitcher’s got nothing.”
It was probably just a pep talk ritual, but in the 2021 ALCS, it is invariably true.
The Astros starting pitchers got nothing.
Who thought that the three runs in 2.2 innings allowed by Framber Valdez would be the BEST Astros starting performance of the ALCS. Next, it was Luis Garcia, who allowed five runs in one inning, followed that game by another Astros starter, Jake Odorizzi, who allowed four more runs in four innings.
Tonight the “stopper” was Jose Urquidy. He gave up six runs in 1.1 innings. It just gets worse and worse.
There was strength in the bullpen, but they are wearing out. Tonight the bullpen allowed six runs, although it took the Sox seven innings to do that. The Sox combined for four home runs tonight.
The Astros bats barely showed up tonight, saved from a shutout by one three-run homer.
I doubt there has ever been a team down 2-1 in a seven-game playoff series that seems so totally beat. They have two more games to play, and it seems there is no one left in either the bullpen or starting rotation that can be relied upon to prevent runs for even a short stint.
Jose Urquidy did manage a sharp first inning. Both teams started the game three up and three down, but the Red Sox basically won the game with six runs in the second, highlighted, of course, by a grand slam.
Urquidy was able to get the first batter, Xander Bogaerts out, but after that, it was all downhill.
Urquidy walked Alex Verdugo on 11 pitches followed by a J.D. Martinez double. The bases were loaded with a Hunter Renfroe walk, and the Bosox scored their first run on a Christian Vasquez single.
Then, in what was possibly the decisive play in the game, Christian Arroyo reached on a fielder’s choice to Jose Altuve on a grounder that seemed like an easy double play. But the play was also ruled an error as the ball took a high bounce off Altuve's chest above his downturned glove, allowing the second Sox run instead of ending the inning.
Then...This time Kyle Schwarber joined the Red Sox grand salamifest.
Sox 6. Astros 0.
The Red Sox failed in the third inning, managing only a three-run homer instead of a grand slammer, this one by Arroyo off Yimi Garcia.
The Astros avoided total humiliation in the fourth inning thanks to a three-run Kyle Tucker homer.
But that doesn’t mean the end of humiliation. In the sixth inning, after Brooks Raley allowed a walk to Rafael Dever and was removed after two outs, J.D. Martinez added two more to the Red Sox total off Phil Maton with a blast to left that almost made it to the freeway.
Rafael Devers added a homer in the eighth off Ryne Stanek to give the Sox an even dozen, although the 12-3 score wasn’t enough to invoke the 10-run mercy rule.