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Monday ALCS Game 3 thread, 8:08 ET

Boston knotted things up with a convincing Game 2 victory. Will Houston’s starting pitching hold up in Game 3?

Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Hi Camden Chatters. I hope you all caught last night’s heartstopper of a Game 2 of the NLCS. (Well, if you’re a Dodgers fan, maybe not so much.) What a walkoff for the Braves! I am reluctantly embracing the fact that, among the four remaining teams, the Braves are what passes for an underdog, so they have my postseason support.

Tonight swings back to the AL, with the series tied 1-1 and Boston and Houston squaring off for Game 3 in Fenway.

For Houston, starting pitching has not been a great strength thus far in the postseason. All in all, Houston starters have a 7.17 postseason ERA—luckily for them, the relief corps (3.69 ERA) and the bats (6.83 runs per game) have picked them up in a big way. Still, going down in an 8-0 hole by the second inning, as the Astros did in Game 2, is not a recipe for winning championships.

Today’s starter for Houston, José Urquidy, is making his first postseason starter after an 8-3 regular-season record and 3.62 ERA. Urquidy missed a chunk of the season with shoulder discomfort, but the good news for Houston is that when he did face Boston, the results were good: six innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts. Red Sox batters hit .143 off Urquidy in 2021.

Opposing him is K-Rod himself, Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez has had kind of an iffy postseason. He’s 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two ALDS starts against Tampa Bay. On October 7, he allowed two runs in just 1.2 innings. But he was better four days later when he allowed 2 runs in five. On the other hand, K-Rod saw Houston twice this season, and it wasn’t good: he allowed 12 runs in 9.1 innings, with Astros hitters batting .341 off him. If it goes like that today, this will be one high-scoring contest.

Which pitching staff will crack first? Here are the lineups:

Boston Red Sox

1. Kyle Schwarber 1B
2. Enrique Hernández CF
3. Rafael Devers 3B
4. Xander Bogaerts SS
5. Alex Verdugo LF
6. J.D. Martinez DH
7. Hunter Renfroe RF
8. Christian Vázquez C
9. Christian Arroyo 2B

Houston Astros

1. José Altuve 2B
2. Michael Brantley LF
3. Alex Bregman 3B
4. Yordan Alvarez DH
5. Carlos Correa SS
6. Kyle Tucker RF
7. Yuli Gurriel 1B
8. José Siri CF
9. Martín Maldonado C