Eduardo Rodriguez will take the ball for the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS as the Houston Astros visit Fenway Park with the series tied at one game each.
The Red Sox hit two early grand slams and held on to beat the Astros 9-5 in Game 2 at Houston’s Minute Maid Park on Saturday.
Red Sox look forward to home-field advantage
Boston wrested home-field advantage away from Houston by earning a split in the first two games. Now, the Astros know they must get at least one win on the road in order to keep the series alive.
“We’ve got to go to Boston and just put our best foot forward, and try to do whatever we can to win games out there,” Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel said after the Game 2 loss. “We know we’re going through a little bit of a tough stretch right now with the injuries that we’ve suffered to the pitching staff, but we got to do our job. We’ve got to go out there and try to put up as many runs as we can.”
On the other side of the fence, the Red Sox are looking forward to getting back home and feeling the energy of the Fenway crowd.
“I think tomorrow is going to be fun,” Boston manager Alex Cora said on Sunday. “It’s been great the last three around here, the wild-card game and the two against Tampa. You feel it around the city. People are into it. They are.”
Rodriguez (13-8, 4.74 ERA) started two games for the Red Sox in the ALDS. He only lasted a combined 6.2 innings, giving up four earned runs and taking one loss. But the 28-year-old says he appreciates the opportunity to take the mound again in the ALCS.
“Just having the opportunity to start this game tomorrow is huge for me to be here and know that [Cora] trusts me to start,” Rodriguez told reporters. “It’s huge. It’s really big for me.”
ALCS odds nearly even for Game 3, series
The Astros are countering with Jose Urquidy (8-3, 3.62 ERA). The righty last pitched on Oct. 3 against the Oakland Athletics in Houston’s final regular-season game, then didn’t pitch in the ALDS against the White Sox.
“We have a formidable guy that we are going to depend on and trust in Urquidy on Monday,” Astros manager Dusty Baker told reporters. “Then we’ll go from there.”
FanDuel Sportsbook rates Monday’s Game 3 as a nearly even matchup, with the Red Sox (-110) only the slightest of favorites over the Astros (-106). Houston remains a -116 favorite in the series overall. Those numbers wouldn’t surprise Baker, who says he has full respect for Boston.
“We’re very evenly matched,” Baker said. “That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’re in the final four. These are two teams that don’t quit.”