Albany Times Union

E-rod to start for Boston

Red Sox left-hander will start Game 3 against the Astros

- By Jimmy Golen

The Red Sox insist Eduardo Rodriguez 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 on Sunday after being picked to start for Boston in Game 3 starter for the AL Championsh­ip Series against Houston.

“You have to go out there and think it’s a regular game,” he said. “That’s the way I see it all the time now: go out there and do my job and don’t think too much. That’s the best way to take the pressure away from your mind.”

Red Sox manager Alex Cora selected the 28-yearold left-hander to face Houston’s Jose Urquidy after delaying the announceme­nt until Sunday afternoon.

Boston righty Nick Pivetta will available for Game 4 — or the bullpen, if necessary. Pivetta was 9-8 with a 4.53 ERA in the regular season but gave the Red Sox four scoreless innings in the 13-inning Game 3 ALDS victory over the Rays.

“If we stay away from Nick, most likely Nick is going to start Game 4,” Cora said. “But if we feel like we should use him, we will.”

Rodriguez was 13-9 with a 4.74 ERA this season after missing all of last year due to coronaviru­s-related heart disease. He is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA this postseason, with two starts against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Series; he allowed two runs while getting five outs in Game 1, then pitched five innings and allowed two runs on three hits in Boston’s Game 4 clincher.

Rodriguez faced the Astros in his first career postseason appearance, giving up two runs while failing to record an out in Game 2 of the 2017 ALDS. He also made two scoreless appearance­s against them in the ALCS in 2018, when Boston went on to win the World Series.

Rodriguez also faced Houston twice during this regular season, allowing a .351 batting average and six runs in each game. Cora said things were different then, when Rodriguez was still working on his changeup and sinker.

“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.

Zack Greinke, who pitched out of the bullpen in the Division Series but hasn’t appeared in the ALCS yet, could be an option in Game 4.

Urquidy is 26 but already has eight postseason appearance­s, and Baker said of his young pitchers: “We’ll see if they rise to the occasion or not.

The Astros won the opener of the best-ofseven series, then Boston won Game 2 in Houston on Saturday when it hit grand slams in each of the first two innings.

 ?? Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press ?? Boston Red Sox Game 3 starting pitcher Eduardo Rodríguez throws at a baseball practice at Fenway Park.
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press Boston Red Sox Game 3 starting pitcher Eduardo Rodríguez throws at a baseball practice at Fenway Park.

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