By: Nicholas Gilanfar
Game 2 was vastly like game one featuring yet another dominant mound performance from the Texas Rangers along with another tight-knit game towards the last out, and most importantly another Rangers victory as they defeated the Houston Astros 5-4 to take a 2-0 series lead with Game 3 headed back to home turf in Arlington Texas.
The Tale of Two Pitching Performances
Nathan Eovaldi served as Texas’ starter in game two which was his third appearance in the playoffs as he strung yet another quality start together going six innings and letting up three runs which were plunked yet but the likes of Houston’s DH Yordan Alvarez who went deep on Eovaldi twice in game two. As for Houston, it was a tale of two starting pitching performances with Houston lefty Framber Valdez who was getting plunked early and was forced to leave the game after pitching only 2.2 innings while letting up seven hits and five runs in that span as the game remained 5-1 for most of the game.
After the pitching meltdown from Framber Valdez, the offensive production began to stall for the Rangers as they were unable to score for the remainder of the game after logging a quick five runs to open the game. The Bullpen for Houston was firing on all cylinders with appearances from Rafael Montero, JP France, Phil Maton, Bryan Abreu, and Ryan Pressley who took the ball from Framber Valdez together pitching 6.1 innings and letting up no runs. Although the pitching from the Houston Bullpen was astounding, it sure was not enough to stop the early offensive outbreak from the Texas Rangers.
A Tactical Decision Made by Bruce Bochy
According to a prior decision made before the ball game, manager Bruce Bochy made the decision to scratch Evan Carter out of the lineup who has been a breakout rookie candidate in the offseason, and rather put in utility player Robbie Grossman and the three holes. The logic behind the manager’s decision was that Carter is not too fond of facing left-handed pitchers. The decision to scratch Carter did come as a question mark to most but ended up playing out the best way possible Robbie Grossman came in there early and was able to force an error upon Valdez as he miscalculated a throw to first on Grossman’s behalf.
Carter shortly entered the game in the third inning as a pinch hitter whenever Valdez was forced out of the game, and it was a first look at what is possibly to come for Evan Carter and his future role in the batting order. After pinch-hitting and getting well-needed reps batting third, there have been developments that it is likely they are to move Carter up to third and Graver down to five. The new changes in the batting order will likely come into fruition for game three but it makes sense to form the order in that top manner because you will now have three guys in the lineup leading off that you are very confident in a quality at-bat followed by a dynamic cleanup hitter in Adolis Garcia as well as one of the better back halves in any batting order in baseball.
After taking advantage of Houston’s home-field advantage the next three games of the series will reside in Arlington Texas with game three taking place on Wednesday, October 18 at 7:03 PM (CST). The pitching matchup for game three will be featuring Christian Javier for Houston and Max Scherzer for Texas as he and the fan base have been waiting patiently for his playoff debut with the Texas Rangers. Scherzer was the Rangers’ dynamic trade deadline acquisition as well as a baseball legend as he looks to win his second championship in his illustrious 15-year career.
Featured Image via Godofredo A Vasquez/ AP Photo