MLB Playoffs: Alvarez, Astros Resume Series vs Mariners
The Seattle Mariners need a new plan for locking down October-tested Astros star Yordan Alvarez, because what they tried in Game 1 certainly didn't work.
Maybe ace Luis Castillo is the answer. They'll find out when the teams play Game 2 of their AL Division Series on Thursday in Houston, with the Guardians and Yankees set for ALDS Game 2 in New York later — weather permitting.
The two NL Division Series, pitting the Phillies vs. the Braves and the Padres against the Dodgers, have the day off.
Alvarez wrecked Seattle's bullpen strategy with one colossal swing Tuesday, giving Houston an 8-7 Game 1 victory with a three-run drive off Robbie Ray with two outs in the ninth inning. Seattle manager Scott Servais called the left-handed Ray — the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner — out of the bullpen just to face the left-handed-hitting Alvarez.
Alvarez, who hit 37 homers in the regular season, spoiled Servais’ move by launching Ray’s second pitch into the right field stands to set off a wild celebration with his mom and dad in the seats. Alvarez had five RBIs in the game.
Castillo, acquired in July from the Cincinnati Reds, could be Seattle's best chance to slow Alvarez and the Astros. The two-time All-Star pitched 7 1/3 shutout innings to beat Toronto in the AL wild-card opener.
Here’s what else to know about the MLB playoffs today:
TODAY’S SCHEDULE (All times ET)
ALDS Game 2: Seattle at Houston, 3:37 p.m., TBS
ALDS Game 2: Cleveland at N.Y. Yankees, 7:37 p.m., TBS
GOOD EXTENSION ON THE MOUND
Astros starters Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia look like naturals on the mound, but they’ve gotten an artificial boost from the barber shop. Both pitchers got hair extensions during the season.
Valdez, Houston's Game 2 starter against Seattle, says they did it as a means of expressing their individuality. They’re showing off those locks this postseason as the Astros try to reach the World Series for the fourth time in six years.
They aren’t the first pro athletes with extensions. NBA star Jimmy Butler was seemingly bullied out of wearing faux-locks by comments on social media this summer.
Cleveland ace Shane Bieber, a two-time All-Star and the 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner, faces Aaron Judge & Co. as the Guardians attempt to even their best-of-five AL Division Series against the New York Yankees.
Nestor Cortes is scheduled to pitch for the Yankees. But steady rain is forecast, and a postponement would lead to the teams possibly playing four games in a row without an off day.
Bieber was 4-6 in late July before going 9-2 with a 2.04 ERA in his last 13 starts. He tossed three-hit ball over 7 2/3 innings against the Rays in Friday’s wild-card opener, allowing only Jose Siri’s sixth-inning solo homer.
Cortes was a first-time All-Star this season and went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA. With multiple arm slots and an occasional hesitation delivery, he’s become a fan favorite at Yankee Stadium.
The left-hander was 1-0 in two starts this year against the Guardians, striking out 14 in 12 1/3 innings and holding batters to 4 for 40.
HOME SWEET HOME
Both the Phillies and Padres are happy to be heading home for the first time this postseason.
Game 3 against Atlanta on Friday will be Philadelphia’s first game at Citizens Bank Park since a regular-season loss to the Braves on Sept. 25.
The wild-card Phillies have played 14 straight road games since then, including four playoff games in their first postseason appearance since 2011. They split the first two games of their best-of-five Division Series against the Braves in Atlanta.
“To leave here with a split and go back home in front of a packed house of passionate people ... I think will give our guys a little shot in the arm,” manager Rob Thomson said.
Blake Snell will start Game 3 for the wild-card Padres against Los Angeles on Friday in their first postseason game in front of fans at Petco Park in 16 years.
“Honestly, I have no idea what to expect — but I know it’s gonna be fun,” Padres slugger Manny Machado said. “San Diego’s been waiting for this all year, they’ve been waiting for it for a long time, and we’re excited to go back home on Friday 1-1.”
BIRD'S EYE VIEW
A goose on the loose caused a brief delay during the NL playoff game between the Padres and Dodgers on Wednesday night.
The bird flew into Dodger Stadium and landed in shallow right field in the eighth inning. It sat on the grass for a while, then flew near the Dodgers’ on-deck circle, where Cody Bellinger flinched, and over toward third base before workers corralled it.
“That was pretty gnarly,” Machado said.
Appropriately, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Tony Gonsolin, who is nicknamed Goose, will start Game 3 of the series Friday in San Diego.