Toronto Star

E-Rod gets starting nod for Red Sox in Game 3


BOSTON—The Red Sox insist Eduardo Rodríguez isn’t the same pitcher who gave up 12 runs in two starts against the Astros in the regular season.

And he says he isn’t the same guy who faced them in his playoff debut four years ago, either.

“A couple of years ago, if I was in this position, I had a lot of pressure. But now I just take every game as a game,” he said Sunday after being picked to start for Boston against Houston in Monday night’s Game 3 of the AL Championsh­ip Series, which is tied at a game apiece.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora selected the left-hander to face Houston’s José Urquidy after delaying the announceme­nt until Sunday afternoon.

Boston righty Nick Pivetta will be available to start Game 4 — or pitch out of the bullpen, if necessary.

Rodríguez was 13-9 with a 4.74 ERA this season after missing all of last year with heart disease related to COVID-19. He is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA this postseason, in two starts against the Rays. He faced Houston twice during this regular season, allowing a .351 batting average and six runs in each game.

“We all struggled against them during the season,” Cora said. “The pitcher that we have now compared to who he was when we went there and then he pitched here, it’s a lot different.”

The Astros will be relying on Urquidy, who was 8-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 20 starts this season, when he made the opening day roster for the first time but missed two months with a right shoulder injury.

Urquidy is 26 but already has eight post-season appearance­s. Said manager Dusty Baker: “José, I think he was a little rookie pitching in the World Series. He is a very calm, cool, very mature dude, and so ... we feel he can handle it.”

Baker also said centre-fielder Jake Meyers, who injured his left shoulder in Game 4 of the ALDS, could play in Game 3.

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