World Series: Astros Claim a Victory -- But at What Cost Did It Come?
The Astros made their statement in Game 3 of the World Series at Nationals Park. After watching Washington win the first two games in Houston, the Astros enjoyed a 4-1 victory. But there are challenges that will come out of that game considering the two teams will play against on Saturday and Sunday.
Astros starter Zack Greinke was actually praised in some stories for the way he set the tone in the game, but in reality Geinke's post-season struggles continued. The $35-million-a-year-man allowed only one run, but he worked only 4 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and walking three.
The saving grace for the Astros was reliever Will Harris, who once again provided an in-game lift, working 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Harris has now appeared in nine games this post-season, working 8 1/3 scoreless innings. He has allowed only five baserunners -- four hits and a walk -- and has struck out 10. He is one of 12 relievers to have worked in at least nine games in a post-season without allowing a run -- and that includes Jeremy Affeldt having done it for the Giants twice -- a record 11 games in the 2014 post-season and 10 games in 2012.
What adds to the challenge for the Astros is that in Game 4 they are turning to Jose Urquidy. That's not likely. Called up for his debut in July, Urquidy has appeared 11 big-league games -- including two relief appearances in the post-season and two in the regular season. He has averaged four innings an appearance, and since his last start, on Sept. 27, he has worked in only two games -- a relief appearance in both the Division Series and NLCS -- for a total of 4 1/3 innings.
Jose Altuve, however, continues to be a catalyst for the Astros. He is hitting .362 this post-season and his 1.137 OPS is the 10th highest in a post-season for a player with a minimum 50 at-bats.
There is certainly nobody feeling pushed to get the job done. Games 2 and 3 of the World Series are among only nine games in World Series history that were played in the standard nine innings and took four hours or more to finish.