ALCS 2021: Red Sox vs. Astros Discussion Thread

Sausage in Section 17

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Fri., Oct. 15 Red Sox at Astros, Game 1 8:07 p.m. Fox 5-4, HOU
Sat., Oct. 16 Red Sox at Astros, Game 2 4:20 p.m. Fox 9-5, BOS
Mon., Oct. 18 Astros at Red Sox, Game 3 8:07 p.m. Fox/FS1 --
Tue., Oct. 19 Astros at Red Sox, Game 4 8:08 p.m. FS1 --
Wed., Oct. 20 Astros at Red Sox, Game 5 5:08 p.m. FS1 --
Fri., Oct. 22 Red Sox at Astros, Game 6* 8:08 p.m. FS1 --
Sat., Oct. 23 Red Sox at Astros, Game 7* 8:08 p.m. Fox/FS1 --
*If necessary.


How will Cora set up the rotation after Eovaldi? I think perhaps ERod made a strong case tonight that he could slot in on regular rest for game two. Then Pivetta, and Sale at home? I know Houston has a very strong right handed lineup, which might favor putting Pivetta ahead of Rodriguez. I’m not sure if there is a home/road split to consider with either of them.
 
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DeadlySplitter

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I was about to make this thread. Very well. :p

I think it has to be Houck Pivetta ERod in some order, for games 2-4, as your rotation going forward. Sale has hit a TJ wall for the year, leave him on the roster for maybe a couple outings in relief, but otherwise naw.

Replace Barnes with Sawamura.

The rainout in the HOW-CHW means McCullers, should Houston win, won't be on full rest again until game 3, assuming he goes a pretty full start tomorrow. Interesting wrinkle. Of course you hope White Sox win tomorrow and a grueling game 5.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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If it’s the White Sox, do you need Austin Davis? They really don’t have any LH hitters of note. Maybe Sawamura (is he healthy?) replaces him (or Barnes). I’d keep the position players the same.

In a 7 game series I think you have to keep a guy like Perez to throw a bunch of low leverage innings if you are getting blown out in one of the early games. But even in this last series, with the starters going short, there were 0 innings for Perez and just 1 for Otto, I think?
 
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Sausage in Section 17

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I was about to make this thread. Very well. :p

I think it has to be Houck Pivetta ERod in some order, for games 2-4, as your rotation going forward. Sale has hit a TJ wall for the year, leave him on the roster for maybe a couple outings in relief, but otherwise naw.

Replace Barnes with Sawamura.

The rainout in the HOW-CHW means McCullers, should Houston win, won't be on full rest again until game 3, assuming he goes a pretty full start tomorrow. Interesting wrinkle. Of course you hope White Sox win tomorrow and a grueling game 5.
I agree that Houck is pitching well enough to be our second best arm right now, I guess I just like him in the role that he’s been serving in. Hopefully the fact that Sale has now pitched only one inning in the last 10 days or so allows him to work through some of his issues. As we saw tonight with Rodriguez, it’s all about command, and in Sale’s last start, he could not command his fastball. I doubt that will be a persistent problem, and while he may not possess the same stuff as before, if he is sharp he will be formidable.

I would still put him at the end of the rotation given how everyone else seems to be pitching right now, and to give him more time to rebound and rest.
 

cantor44

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So fantastic that they can reset their pitching with 3 days off. Really good for them.
Eovoldi can go on 4 days rest for game 1.
Erod can go on 4 days rest for game 2.
Sale can go on 8 days rest for game 3.
Pivetta or Houck can go in game 4 depending on who was used less/less recently in games 1-3.
Would be good to see Sawamura added.
If they are going to pull Plawekci in his starts once Eovaldi removed from the game, do you add Wong for insurance (in place of Santana, or maybe in place of Perez) ....
 

nattysez

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I'm not sure you can start Sale if starting him requires not pitching Houck until Sale's start so he can shadow Sale. So you need to believe Sale can start and pitch into the 5th, send him to the pen and let Houck start, or be ok with Ottovino or Perez being the shadow for Sale (not an appealing thought).

I know flags fly forever, but the Sox are also going to have to balance winning with overtaxing Houck and Whitlock by overusing them. I really don't think Cora wanted to use Whitlock for 2 tonight, but Brasier left him with little choice.
 

Sausage in Section 17

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I think Cora will try to take advantage of Houck as a sort of jack knife relief ace. He was needed as an emergency long man in Sale's start, but was used only for an inning and 11 pitches tonight, to face the heart of the Rays order. Such a role is, I would argue, more important than a Game 4 starter in a best of 7 series. The game 4 starter would likely only be available for an inning in Game 1, and then you have to win a few before they can appear again after their Game 4 start. I think this would give Sale, as our current worst starter, the least exposure, while allowing Houck to get into some higher leverage "ace" situations that I don't think we'd want Sale going anywhere near at the moment.
 

cantor44

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I'm not sure you can start Sale if starting him requires not pitching Houck until Sale's start so he can shadow Sale. So you need to believe Sale can start and pitch into the 5th, send him to the pen and let Houck start, or be ok with Ottovino or Perez being the shadow for Sale (not an appealing thought).

I know flags fly forever, but the Sox are also going to have to balance winning with overtaxing Houck and Whitlock by overusing them. I really don't think Cora wanted to use Whitlock for 2 tonight, but Brasier left him with little choice.
I wish Cora had used Whitlock for two (and was saying as much before the 8th in the game thread) ... look, Sale has pitched well in most of his starts. If you remove him entirely you are down a starter, and you weaken the pen. You gotta hope that with a bit of extra rest he can find a bit more of his form ....I'm not sure Sale will ever be dominant again. But he is Chris Sale. He's been around the block and his wiles alone might pay dividends. Look at the difference of Erod's two starts in the ALDS - pitchers can adjust.

EDIT: Clarification: had hope Whitlock would be brought in in the top of the 8th with the Rays best hitters coming up.
 
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bob burda

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I'm not sure you can start Sale if starting him requires not pitching Houck until Sale's start so he can shadow Sale. So you need to believe Sale can start and pitch into the 5th, send him to the pen and let Houck start, or be ok with Ottovino or Perez being the shadow for Sale (not an appealing thought).

I know flags fly forever, but the Sox are also going to have to balance winning with overtaxing Houck and Whitlock by overusing them. I really don't think Cora wanted to use Whitlock for 2 tonight, but Brasier left him with little choice.
On your last point, Whitlock threw a total of 15 pitches over 2 innings. When he got out of the 8th throwing only 9 pitches it was not a hard decision.

If Whitlock had thrown 20-30 pitches to get out of it, we would have seen Sale.
 

Sox Puppet

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Yeah ... luckily Whitlock only threw 15 pitches tonight. Granted that they were very high-leverage pitches and showed nerves of steel, I still hope that that level of usage isn't too taxing for him.
 

cantor44

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Both CWS and Houston heavy right handed starting pitchers - both only feature 1 lefty starter. So ... get used to Schwarber at first. Might be alright, given it means the best outfield defense, and Verdugo deadly against RHP ...weakens infield D, but something's gotta give somewhere in there.

I think Houston is a bit better, maybe that's obvious. Both teams have excellent pitching, but Houston O better. THEREFORE, I hope White Sox win out. Plus I live in Chicago, so would go to a game!
 
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chrisfont9

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Among the reasons we might prefer Chicago is the fact that the Sox just played them, and haven't played Houston in forever. Seems like we hear a lot about how relievers with a limited repertoire, which is most of them, tend to lose their advantage over a long series, and since the Rays are sort of built like an entire team of relievers, the fact that we just played them a ton maybe gave the Sox a good chance to figure them out in this series? Who knows. Anyway, the Sox played the Astros seven games between May 31 and June 10, going 2-5 and facing Urquidy, Valdez twice, Odorizzi twice, Greinke and Garcia once. They haven't faced McCullers this season, but whatever, it's winnable. With the White Sox, who we faced exactly a month ago, we had trouble with Rodon and Lynn, but cuffed Cease around pretty good. Also winnable.
 

ehaz

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Among the reasons we might prefer Chicago is the fact that the Sox just played them, and haven't played Houston in forever. Seems like we hear a lot about how relievers with a limited repertoire, which is most of them, tend to lose their advantage over a long series, and since the Rays are sort of built like an entire team of relievers, the fact that we just played them a ton maybe gave the Sox a good chance to figure them out in this series? Who knows. Anyway, the Sox played the Astros seven games between May 31 and June 10, going 2-5 and facing Urquidy, Valdez twice, Odorizzi twice, Greinke and Garcia once. They haven't faced McCullers this season, but whatever, it's winnable. With the White Sox, who we faced exactly a month ago, we had trouble with Rodon and Lynn, but cuffed Cease around pretty good. Also winnable.
Astros may not want to face us for the same reason. How many at bats do their right handed hitters have against Pivetta, Houck, and Whitlock?
 

mauidano

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Pulling for the White Sox and hope they and the Astors play extra innings the rest of the way.
 

chrisfont9

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So fantastic that they can reset their pitching with 3 days off. Really good for them.
Eovoldi can go on 4 days rest for game 1.
Erod can go on 4 days rest for game 2.
Sale can go on 8 days rest for game 3.
Pivetta or Houck can go in game 4 depending on who was used less/less recently in games 1-3.
Would be good to see Sawamura added.
If they are going to pull Plawekci in his starts once Eovaldi removed from the game, do you add Wong for insurance (in place of Santana, or maybe in place of Perez) ....
I expect Cora will go with Sale in game 1 and Eovaldi in game 2. Just his way of not overreacting to Sale's one bad inning, showing confidence in him. Also not stressing Eovaldi too much. Keeps Houck in the bullpen and has Pivetta as either game 4 starter (after Eddie in game 3) or goes back to moving starters around as needed if things don't quite go to plan.
 

chrisfont9

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Astros may not want to face us for the same reason. How many at bats do their right handed hitters have against Pivetta, Houck, and Whitlock?
You are right, it cuts both ways. I wonder, is the genius behind Cora's strategy of plugging starters into these roles about having guys with a wider repertoire, whose stuff doesn't stop playing over a 7-game series? I dunno, maybe you can just chalk it all up to the randomness of determining anything about a baseball team over the course of four games, which is a blip in time, and we are just getting incredibly lucky that our side has had a knack for these moments for 20 years now.
 
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scottyno

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There's no reason for them to decide now who is going to start game 4.

I think it's safe to say Eovaldi gets a start, Erod gets a start, Sale gets a start unless there's a reason to think he's hurt, and you stick Pivetta and Houck in the bullpen starting in game 1 and see when and how much you need them and then when you get to game 4 see how much you've had to use them and go from there.
 

Apisith

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If it's the Astros then you really have to wonder whether Sale starts away or at home. Starting at home against a righty-heavy lineup is dangerous, they'll just aim for the wall all day. If Sale doesn't have a feel for the changeup then it's going to be a long day. I would honestly start him away. Either way, Sale agains the Astros is not something I'm looking forward to.
 

normstalls

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All I know is I’m a little buzzed up and we are swimming in gravy right now! This team has over achieved and been a blast to watch. (Given us some heart burn along the way, but top 2 in AL - how can you complain??)
 

The Raccoon

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If it's the Astros then you really have to wonder whether Sale starts away or at home. Starting at home against a righty-heavy lineup is dangerous, they'll just aim for the wall all day. If Sale doesn't have a feel for the changeup then it's going to be a long day. I would honestly start him away. Either way, Sale agains the Astros is not something I'm looking forward to.
Isn't Minute Maid Park equally dangerous in LF?
Down the LF line it's only 5ft more than Fenway (if wikipedia is uptodate) and the wall is not as high.

But this is a discussion for another day - I'm rooting for the White Sox in the ALDS either way!
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I'm somewhat glad that Brazier got beaten up (and of course without any significant consequences). He's been getting by on luck and/or opponents ineptitude. He does not look good but the final results were giving an illusion that he was. So in that sense, I'm glad that he fell apart and hopefully won't be used for any hi-lev situations.
Sawamura definitely needs to be on the ALCS roster. What's the situation with Robles? Also wondering if they need to add Seabold for another long relief guy. Whitlock can go 3, Houck 5, Pivetta 5. Richards looks like he won't be on the roster and I'm not sure if I want Perez to ever touch a baseball while wearing a Sox uniform again.
I think Seabold needs to be added if Robles is ill. Sawamura replaces Barnes. I dunno.....
 

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1-3 should be Eovaldi, Sale, ERod, unless there is any real reason to split up the lefties. Which I don't really see.
Robles was around yesterday, so it doesn't seem like he's COVID ill, so he should certainly be a part of the mix.
Sawamura in for Barnes. I guess Perez needs to stay around in case there is a 19 inning game.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I'm somewhat glad that Brazier got beaten up (and of course without any significant consequences). He's been getting by on luck and/or opponents ineptitude. He does not look good but the final results were giving an illusion that he was. So in that sense, I'm glad that he fell apart and hopefully won't be used for any hi-lev situations.
Sawamura definitely needs to be on the ALCS roster. What's the situation with Robles? Also wondering if they need to add Seabold for another long relief guy. Whitlock can go 3, Houck 5, Pivetta 5. Richards looks like he won't be on the roster and I'm not sure if I want Perez to ever touch a baseball while wearing a Sox uniform again.
I think Seabold needs to be added if Robles is ill. Sawamura replaces Barnes. I dunno.....
I don't get the fascination with Seabold. He's a good prospect, but he has three innings of big league experience. Barring injuries to at least three other guys (and by all reports, Robles' illness was short-lived so he's not getting replaced), I don't see him making the roster. And if he does by some miracle get added, he's going to play the same role that Martin Perez played in this ALDS with hopefully the same result (he sees no action).

Given the lineups that both the Astros and White Sox have, I expect Sawamura will be added, probably in place of Davis. Barnes probably stays only because Richards is ineligible. Otherwise, I don't expect any changes to the pitching staff. As for the starters, it's Eovaldi in Game 1, followed by ERod and Sale in either order. Pivetta and Houck are in the pen with the potential of being the Game 4 starter based on availability. But frankly, I don't think who the starters are is all that important. We've already seen that it's more about covering bulk innings somewhere along the line. Whether that's the first, second, third or fourth guy to enter the game isn't necessarily relevant. They've gotten this far with the get-27-outs-by-any-means-necessary, and I think that's the way they have to keep going. They're going to have to continue to eschew the traditional set rotation, set bullpen roles approach for the win today, worry about tomorrow tomorrow approach.
 

lexrageorge

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The 3 days off will be hugely valuable to the pitching staff; the winner of the Chicago/Houston series may not have that luxury. For now, Sale should be penciled in for a start, Game 2 or 3. If he's needed in relief earlier, then they can use one of their other pitchers.
 

RG33

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I was randomly heading to Boston from LA today to help my parent’s move out of the house they’ve been in for 45 years. A couple of buddies from LA who have never been are joining, as both are also big Cowboys fans. They were stoked to visit Boston, were even more excited to go to a Patriots game, and now we’re doing the full trifecta I think. Bruins opener on Saturday. Pats/Cowboys on Sunday. Sox ALCS game 3 on Monday.

LET’S FUCKING GO!
 

Sam Ray Not

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The 3 days off will be hugely valuable to the pitching staff; the winner of the Chicago/Houston series may not have that luxury. For now, Sale should be penciled in for a start, Game 2 or 3. If he's needed in relief earlier, then they can use one of their other pitchers.
Also huge, I would think, for JD’s ankle, Raffy’s hand/wrist (or whatever’s been making him wince after every big swing), Vaz’s legs, etc.
 

GB5

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Sawamura got a huge double play on the last Sunday of the regular season. Key spot. However, I dont believe he had pitched in a while before that, and hasnt pitched since. What would you reasonably expect when you put a guy in a big spot in a playoff game and he has been on the mound only once in three weeks. For a guy who struggles with his control as is, that could be a tall ask.

Is it fair to say that Ottavino has thrown his last meaningful pitch for the Sox. If I recall correctly, I dont even recall him even getting up in the Tampa series. The thought of him spinning his inside slider to Correa, Bregman or Altuve is terifying.
 

mikeford

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I have the fear that we're gonna go Sale in Game 1 because you have the maximum amount of options to bail him out in the first game of the series. Everyone should be coming in as fresh as possible in terms of the bullpen and particularly the long men Pivetta/Houck/Whitlock (longish for him anyway).

Start Eovaldi in Game 1 and it goes into extras with Sale penciled in as Game 2 starter means maybe not having the ability to yank him if he's terrible again.
 

nvalvo

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If it's the Astros then you really have to wonder whether Sale starts away or at home. Starting at home against a righty-heavy lineup is dangerous, they'll just aim for the wall all day. If Sale doesn't have a feel for the changeup then it's going to be a long day. I would honestly start him away. Either way, Sale agains the Astros is not something I'm looking forward to.
I hear what you're saying, but it's not as if Houston doesn't have a short porch in left. It's all of five feet deeper down the line, and if anything generates more HR than 2B.

I guess we know Sale can pitch well at Guaranteed Rate.
 

The Gray Eagle

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I think we’re all rooting for game five to take 37 innings over two days.
With yesterday's rainout, those teams are playing this afternoon. If the White Sox win, both teams would have to travel back to Houston for game 5 tomorrow with no day off, which would be nice for us.
So no matter who we want to face, we should hope that Chicago wins today. And then the 37-inning game 5.

Whoever wins will get Thursday off, so their bullpen won't be all that stressed. Not as well rested as ours though.
 

chrisfont9

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Sawamura got a huge double play on the last Sunday of the regular season. Key spot. However, I dont believe he had pitched in a while before that, and hasnt pitched since. What would you reasonably expect when you put a guy in a big spot in a playoff game and he has been on the mound only once in three weeks. For a guy who struggles with his control as is, that could be a tall ask.

Is it fair to say that Ottavino has thrown his last meaningful pitch for the Sox. If I recall correctly, I dont even recall him even getting up in the Tampa series. The thought of him spinning his inside slider to Correa, Bregman or Altuve is terifying.
Ottavino got up last night, or the night before, they are all blending together. But yeah, your point stands.
 

cantor44

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I have the fear that we're gonna go Sale in Game 1 because you have the maximum amount of options to bail him out in the first game of the series. Everyone should be coming in as fresh as possible in terms of the bullpen and particularly the long men Pivetta/Houck/Whitlock (longish for him anyway).

Start Eovaldi in Game 1 and it goes into extras with Sale penciled in as Game 2 starter means maybe not having the ability to yank him if he's terrible again.
But if you pitch Eovaldi in Game 1, he can start Game 5, and at potentially come in in relief Game 7. I think the Sox do this. Give Sale Game 3 after a day's rest, there should be someone to back him up ...
 
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TapeAndPosts

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I just wanted to say I'm enjoying the shift in energy I'm perceiving around here. Before the ALDS we were psyched to have beaten the Yankees but SoSH seemed resigned to losing to the Rays and seemed to view the team as being maybe a little bit postseason impostors. Since last night, the mood seems to have become we belong here, let's see what we can do. Liking that!
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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But if you pitch Eovaldi in Game 1, he can start Game 5, and at potentially come in in relief Game 7. I think the Sox do this. Give Sale Game 3 after a day's rest, there should be someone to back him up ...
There was discussion on one of the post-game shows (don't know which, I bounced from FS1, NESN, and MLBN) that Eovaldi possibly could start Game 1, Game 4, and Game 7 depending on how the series went. We've already seen ERod start on three-days rest (albeit with a short outing in Game 1) and Pivetta threw near-starter pitch counts with just two days rest in between. With the way the staff has been handled so far, and Cora's clear lack of fear when it comes to an early hook, I don't think we should assume anyone is going to be limited to a standard rest schedule.
 

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If they are going to pull Plawekci in his starts once Eovaldi removed from the game, do you add Wong for insurance (in place of Santana, or maybe in place of Perez) ....
I brought this up last night -- despite the magic of Vaz, I gotta believe the Red Sox would get a lot more out of having Wong on the bench than they do out of Santana.

Perez makes sense only in case there's 14-inning game or something, but there probably will be.