Red Sox Bats Stay Red Hot
Game 3 of the ALCS took place in Houston last night, featuring Nathan Eovaldi taking on Dallas Keuchel, with both teams looking to take a 2-1 series lead. The game got off to an early start, with Sox' slugger JD Martinez hitting a hard double in the top of the 1st, which scored Mookie Betts and advanced Andrew Benintendi to 3rd base. Benintendi later scored as the next batter, Xander Bogaerts hit a grounder to shortstop which ended up being an RBI fielder's choice. 2-0 Bo Sox early on.
The bottom of the 1st had some fireworks of it's own, as Marwin Gonzalez cashed Jose Altuve on an RBI single. Altuve, who is battling a knee injury, played as DH tonight rather than his normal position at 2nd. Nonetheless, he was able to make it around the bases and cut the lead down to 2-1.
Both starters settled down however, as Keuchel would end up going 5 fairly strong innings; only giving up 4 hits and the 2 early runs. On the other side, Eovaldi was hitting over 100mph again on the radar gun, and managed to go 6 innings, with 4 K's and 2 runs given up, as in the bottom of the 5th Alex Bregman laced a double to left field that would score Jose Altuve and tie the game at 2's.
In the top of the 6th, Steve Pearce hit a solo shot off Astros reliever Joe Smith to restore the Red Sox lead, and put Eovaldi in line for the win. Eovaldi would then shut down the Stro's in the 6th, and turn the game over to the pen, with the lead in hand.
Nothing exciting happened in the 7th, as neither team couldn't muster up any offence. In the top of the 8th though, Roberto Osuna hit Brock Holt with a pitch to load the bases, then hit Mitch Moreland with a pitch to score Steve Pearce from 3rd. Looking to add to the lead, Jackie Bradley took a 1-1 pitch and hit a high grand slam to right centerfield, opening the game wide open. 8-2 Red Sox.
The bottom of the 9th wasn't very friendly to the Astro's, as Tyler White and George Springer both struck out, and Evan Gattis grounded out to short after pinch-hitting for Tony Kemp. Leaving the final score at 8-2 Boston, giving them a 2-1 series lead.
Roberto Osuna struggled mightily. Despite Smith being given the loss, it was a close game until Osuna hit 2 consecutive batters and surrendered a grand slam. He finished the night with an ERA of 67.50 after giving up 5 earned runs in just 0.2 innings pitched. He is one of the more reliable young bullpen arms around the league, despite his horrible off-field antics, and will need to drastically bounce back if the Astro's want to rely on him moving forward.
Jose Altuve's injury is worrisome. Not much has been released about it, but if it is significant enough to get that guy off the field, he must be in serious pain. However, he probably had his best night at the plate of this series, with 2 hits, 2 runs, and a walk last night. They will need him to be big again in game 4 if they want to even this series up.
Jackie Bradley Jr. . . what a game. Not usually a noted power hitter, came up very clutch with that grand slam. Despite it being his only hit on the night, timely hitting can win you ball games, and that hit certainly did so tonight.
Ryan Brasier looked good out of the Red Sox pen again, picking up the hold. Being able to roll out Brasier, Kelly, Barnes, and Rodriguez helps the Sox save Kimbrel's arm for when they need him the most, which is a nice luxury to have.
Game 4 goes tonight in Houston, with the 15 wins and only 3 losses this season, Charlie Morton will make his 2018 postseason debut on the hill for the Astros, facing Rick Porcello, who only gave up 1 run in Game 4 of the ALDS vs the Yankees. I'm sticking with my pick of the Astros, and say that their bats will show up in a big way tonight, and send this series back to Beantown all tied up.