Still got work to do. pic.twitter.com/FEP0BO4xeE— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
Red Sox vs. Astros score: Boston cruises to ALCS Game 3 win with four Fenway homers
The Red Sox got another early grand slam en route to a blowout win
The Boston Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the American League Championship Series on Monday night with a dominant 12-3 victory over the Houston Astros at Fenway Park. The blueprint was similar to Game 2 with a grand slam and huge early lead. Let's take a deeper look at ALCS Game 3 with five takeaways.
1. Altuve error clears way for Schwarber slam
With one out and the bases loaded in the second inning, Red Sox second baseman Christian Arroyo sent a hard grounder right at Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. Had Altuve cleanly fielded the ball, it was very likely an inning-ending double play. The Red Sox would've had the lead, sure, but it would've been just 1-0. Instead, the 105-mph grounder got through Altuve for an error. The next batter was Kyle Schwarber and, well...
Schwarber's grand slam gave the Red Sox three in their last two games and they became the first team in playoff history to hit a trio of grand slams in one playoff series. For the full story on the big Red Sox six-run second inning, click here.
2. It wasn't just the grand slam
The Astros offense is good enough to come back from six runs down, especially since it was only the third inning, so it would always behoove the opponent to keep tacking on. The Red Sox did just that in the third inning. Hunter Renfroe drew a walk, stole second, got to third as the throw got past Altuve at second and then scored on a shallow pop up to left field (the Astros' infield was drawn in or else shortstop Carlos Correa likely catches it). The next batter was Arroyo.
Even with six innings of at-bats remaining, a 9-0 deficit is just far too much even for the Astros. That blast totally sealed things up for the Red Sox.
Also of note: J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the sixth and Rafael Devers hit a solo shot of his own over the Green Monster in the eighth to give the BoSox four for the game.
In the regular season, the Red Sox ranked sixth in the AL in home runs. During the playoffs, they've morphed into one of the greatest power machines we've seen. They hit two homers in the AL Wild Card Game. They hit nine homers in four games in the ALDS against a Rays pitching staff that led the AL in ERA. Now in three ALCS games, they've hit nine homers, including three grand slams. This is just a wrecking crew right now.
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3. Kiké is still ridiculous
After hitting .250 during the regular season and previously carrying a career .213 average in the playoffs, Enrique Hernández is still out-of-his-mind hot right now. He was actually 1 for 7 in the Wild Card Game and Game 1 of the ALDS, but -- after a two-hit night in Game 3 -- he's now 17 for 29 with four doubles and five homers in the last six games. The Red Sox are 5-1 in those games, too.
To piggyback on the above point about the Red Sox offense, it's not just the home runs. They've now collected at least 10 hits in six straight games. That's the longest such streak in a single postseason in MLB history (via MLB.com's Sarah Langs). As such, it's really not hyperbole to say they are putting together a historic offensive playoff run.
4. Contrast in starting pitching
Both teams entered the series with major question marks in the rotation. The Astros really, really needed José Urquidy to get some distance in this one, but instead he didn't make it out of the second inning. He gave up six runs (five earned) in 1 2/3 innings, forcing Dusty Baker to go deep into his bullpen yet again. Games 3-5 in this series come without an off day, so Urquidy's bad outing -- and, again, Altuve's error -- might prove costly beyond Game 3.
On the flip side, Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodríguez made things a lot easier on his manager. He was able to get through six innings of quality work. There was a three-run homer from Kyle Tucker in there, but overall it was an outing that greatly helped his team save the best bullpen pitchers while taking a 2-1 series lead. He was good in Game 4 against the Rays and his stuff and velocity were both the best they've been all season. He struck out seven and didn't walk anyone. We've probably seen enough to believe the Red Sox can count on him moving forward after an overall uneven and mostly bad regular season.
5. What's next?
The Astros are probably in must-win territory for Tuesday night's Game 4, as it would be awfully tough to rip off three straight wins over the Red Sox with the way they are hitting right now. They will start Zack Greinke and hope he can go three or four innings and then piece things together with the bullpen. The Red Sox will send Nick Pivetta to the hill. He was very valuable in his two relief outings in the ALDS, posting a 3.12 ERA in 8 2/3 innings. He hasn't pitched this series, so he'll be able to empty the proverbial tank.
In MLB history in seven-game series, the team winning Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead has won the series 63 percent of the time. All teams with a 2-1 series lead have won the series just over 70 percent of the time.
The @RedSox are red-hot 🔥#Postseason pic.twitter.com/RKXZNjpGY4— MLB (@MLB) October 19, 2021
Shoutout to the best fans in baseball. pic.twitter.com/UKWvbH7myl— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
Fenway……… you are AMAZING! We feel the energy 🔥🔥🔥. Absolutely electric! https://t.co/KeUxyT0a8x— Travis Shaw (@travis_shaw21) October 19, 2021
Hunter Renfroe said "goodnight." pic.twitter.com/czfy1h8S5n— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
Game 3: W 👊— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
📝: https://t.co/j9Eb6cTDU8 pic.twitter.com/wiibE60Y0R
Hitting our way into postseason history. pic.twitter.com/ti0iBGd28b— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
The @RedSox #KeepDancing at Fenway. pic.twitter.com/r4LQs18Hw8— MLB (@MLB) October 19, 2021
Catching the series lead! pic.twitter.com/2cpExOqiFp— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
Ending the game in style! pic.twitter.com/dYVAlrtfgP— MLB (@MLB) October 19, 2021
The cherry on top. pic.twitter.com/kp3CThgq1q— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
Fun night at Fenway! pic.twitter.com/DpAFul5vqk— MLB (@MLB) October 19, 2021
Final: #Astros 3, Red Sox 12— Houston Astros (@astros) October 19, 2021
We told you it was good to be home!— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
FINAL: #RedSox 12, Astros 3#KeepDancing pic.twitter.com/UQoRW2XXLi
Tonight's theme: Homers 🚀 pic.twitter.com/BqgWX9M5vn— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
Scoop, there's a dozen! pic.twitter.com/9w1f7lPmoV— MLB (@MLB) October 19, 2021
Raffy handing out souvenirs on the Monster! pic.twitter.com/y2WtnkOuNf— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
The joy of the post HR cart ride. 😁 pic.twitter.com/k9xSjiU1Dt— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
Another J.D. HR for the timeline 💣 pic.twitter.com/ivV6tYTp1N— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
The Sox are Just Dominating. pic.twitter.com/TiAvv6aVUH— MLB (@MLB) October 19, 2021
let's check in with big papi! pic.twitter.com/R3zTelJSw3— Cut4 (@Cut4) October 19, 2021
Career-playoff high 7 strikeouts. 👊 pic.twitter.com/PZt4m2Df1B— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
JULIOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/wuHHyf2Vrn— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
Big Papi's reaction to Kyle Schwarber's grand slam 🤣 pic.twitter.com/tXFK6I7a01— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 19, 2021
Eddie Energy. pic.twitter.com/H6ReE1oqnZ— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 19, 2021
So unlikely that FanGraphs gives the Red Sox a 97.4 percent chance at winning this ballgame.
The Astros have five innings to score at least six more runs. It is doable for this offense. Unlikely, but doable.
Pictured: 829 feet of homers.— MLB (@MLB) October 19, 2021
📺: @FS1 pic.twitter.com/ZpRDoZeYu1
Tuck tank, #Postseason edition.#ForTheH pic.twitter.com/ZiIOkLjHuI— Houston Astros (@astros) October 19, 2021
.@KTuck30 keeps raking this #postseason 💪 pic.twitter.com/PDMSY6lED3— MLB (@MLB) October 19, 2021