Astros vs Braves Game 2 Recap: Urquidy Makes History

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Wednesday was the Astros vs Braves Game 2. The Houston Astros needed a strong pitching performance from Jose Urquidy and that is exactly what they got. The Astros defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-2 to even up the World Series at one game apiece. Urquidy, who only threw 76 pitches, went five innings and allowed two runs on six hits while striking out seven to pick up the win. The series now shifts to Atlanta and Truist Park for games three, four, and five this weekend. 

Urquidy pitched on eight days’ rest and pitched well. Houston needed it after Framber Valdez lasted only three innings in Game 1, causing the bullpen to enter the game early. After Urquidy exited, the aforementioned bullpen took over again. They were nearly flawless as they only allowed one hit. Christian Javier relieved him in the sixth inning and went one and ⅓ innings. Phil Maton would finish off the seventh and Ryan Pressley and Kendall Graveman would pitch the eighth and ninth.  

Game Recap 

The Astros got the scoring started in the first. Jose Altuve led off the game with a double and then advanced to third on a flyout by Michael Brantley. Alex Bregman would bring him in on a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0. Atlanta would tie the game when Travis d’Arnaud hit a solo home run in the second. The Astros would answer by scoring four in the bottom half of the second. After back-to-back singles by Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel, Jose Siri would reach on an infield single to bring in Tucker for a 2-1 Astros lead.

Martin Maldonado would follow with a single of his own to left-field to score Gurriel. Siri would score on a throwing error by right fielder Eddie Rosario to make it 4-1. Maldonado would score on a Michael Brantley single to right to make the score 5-1. The Astros would add one run in the 6th when Yordan Alvarez scored on Gurriel’s fielder’s choice to make it 6-2. Jose Altuve would hit a solo home run in the 7th to make it 7-2. 

Urquidy Makes History

With his second career World Series victory, Urquidy became the first Mexican pitcher to record multiple victories in World Series history. He passed Los Angeles Dodger great Fernando Valenzuela who picked up a win in the 1981 World Series. Aurelio Lopez who got one with the 1984 Detroit Tigers, and Victor Gonzalez who was the winning pitcher for the Dodgers in the series clincher last season against the Tampa Bay Rays. All three had recorded one win. 

He is now 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three career appearances. He could make another start in this series if it goes more than six games.     

Notes

  • Houston will now head to Atlanta with the series even at one. Luis Garcia will start Game 3 for the Astros. Ian Anderson will start for the Braves.
  • Game 4 could be a bullpen game for both teams. Look for the Astros to do what they did in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. and open with Zack Greinke. 
  • Since games 3-5 are in a National League park, there will not be a designated hitter. The outfield will likely be Yordan Alvarez in left, Kyle Tucker in center, and Michael Brantley in right.

Yordan Alvarez Was On Fire; Named ALCS MVP

Will the fiery youngster fresh off an MVP bring more hardware to Houston?

To say that Yordan Alvarez was pretty good in the American League Championship Series is an understatement. Saying he was on fire the last two games of the ALCS is pretty accurate. Alvarez, who was named the series MVP, was virtually unstoppable in the final two games. In fact, in games five and six, he outhit the entire Red Sox by himself. The ball may be looking huge to him right now and the Houston Astros are hoping that stays.

The Astros and the Atlanta Braves will meet starting Tuesday night in Game 1 of the World Series. Alvarez will be playing in his second World Series after appearing in the 2019 Fall Classic as a rookie against the Washington Nationals. Alvarez’s been a skilled acquisition for the Astros. However, if not for former GM Jeff Luhnow, he may not have ever come to Houston.

Minor Leagues

The Dodgers signed Alvarez as an international free agent after two seasons in the Cuban National Series. The Astros traded for him in 2016 for reliever Josh Fields. Alvared would make his professional debut in 2016 with the Dominican Summer League Astros, and began 2017 with the Quad City River Bandits. During this time, he was promoted to the Blues Creek Astros. He appeared in the All-Star Futures Game.  

While with AA Corpus Christi in 2018, he was ranked among the top minor league prospects in the game. This earned him a promotion to the Fresno Grizzlies of Class AAA Pacific Coast League. He hit a combined .293/.369/.534 with 20 home runs, and 74 RBI. The 2019 season for Alvarez with the Round Rock Express of the PCL finished as follows: .343/.443/.742 with 23 home runs, 71 RBI, 38 walks, and 50 runs before he was called up on June 9, 2019. 

MLB Career

Alvarez made his MLB debut against the Baltimore Orioles and went 1 for 3 with a two-run home run. In 87 games with the Astros, he batted .313 with 27 home runs, 75 RBI, and had a slugging percentage of .655, which was the highest in history for a qualified rookie. He helped lead the Astros to the World Series and hit his first postseason home run in Game Five’s victory. After the season, he would win the American League Rookie of the Year award unanimously.   

The 2020 season would be one to forget for Alvarez. He sat out at the start of the season due to testing positive for COVID-19. He would return in August but only play two games due to knee issues that would cause him to have arthroscopic surgery on both knees and shut him down for the season. 

2021 Season

Alvarez would rebound from his lost 2020 season and play well in 2021. He finished the regular season batting .277 with 33 home runs and 105 RBI, helping the Astros win the AL West division. He’s been successful this postseason; now just hope he can keep his hot streak going in the World Series. Should he stay hot, it’ll go a long way in the Astros winning their second World Title in five seasons. For him, it would be his first and the perfect way to end the season after a lost one.

Framber Valdez Shuts Down Red Sox

The Houston starter regains his composure from Game 1.

Framber Valdez
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Framber Valdez was on top of his game in game five of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday night. No Houston Astros pitcher had gone more than three innings in any of the previous four games in the series. Valdez went eight innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out five to shut Boston down. The Astros are now one game away from their third AL Pennant and advancing to the World Series for the third time in five seasons. 

Game Five Recap

Valdez, who started game one and lasted two and ⅔ innings, was great in game five. He got into a jam in the fifth inning, however. After Rafael Devers singled to right field and then a hit-by-pitch to J.D. Martinez, Astros manager Dusty Baker visited the mound to talk and calm his right-hander. Whatever was said worked, as Hunter Renfroe grounded into a double play and Alex Verdugo grounded out to first. 

Valdez and Red Sox starter Chris Sale were in a pitcher’s duel going into the sixth inning. With the Astros leading 1-0, on the strength of a Yordan Alvarez solo home run in the second, they erupted for five runs in the frame. After Jose Altuve singled and Michael Brantley reached on an error, Alvarez doubled to left to score them both to make it 3-0. A Kyle Tucker infield single would move Alvarez to third and a Yuli Gurriel double would bring him in to make it 4-0. Jose Siri would follow and single to right, scoring Tucker and Gurriel for a 6-0 lead. 

Houston would add another run in the seventh on a Brantley single to center, scoring Altuve. Two more runs in the ninth on a Gurriel single would bring Alex Bregman and Correa around to make it 9-1. Alvarez would finish the night three for five with three RBI and finishing a triple short of the cycle. Valdez went eight innings and allowed one run on three hits and five strikeouts. Ryne Stanek would pitch the ninth to finish off the win. 

Look Ahead To Game Six 

The Astros will now head back to Minute Maid Park just one win away from moving on to the World Series. Game Six will be a pitching rematch of game two. Luis Garcia, who went one-plus inning in game two and left with knee soreness, will oppose Nathan Eovaldi who won game two. Garcia should be good to go with no issues. The Astros bullpen is rested now after throwing 28 ⅓ total innings from game one through game four. If he can go at least five innings, I am sure Dusty will be good with that. The offense has been hot the last two games after scoring nine runs in back-to-back games in Fenway Park. Game six will be Friday at 7 PM from Minute Maid. 

Astros Advance To 5th Straight ALCS

Astros ALCS

Jose Altuve put the exclamation point on game four of the ALDS with a three-run home run in the ninth to push the Houston Astros back into the ALCS with a 10-1 win. The Astros now head to their fifth-straight ALCS to face former bench coach Alex Cora and the Boston Red Sox. With their defeat of the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros became only the third team to make five consecutive League Championship Series appearances (Oakland Athletics, 1971-1975; Atlanta Braves, 1991-1999).

Game Four Recap

The Astros got behind early on, then took a 2-1 lead in the third when Carlos Correa doubled off White Sox starter Carlos Rodon, bringing in Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman. They would then add to their lead in the fourth inning. Martin Maldonado would single to center and scored Kyle Tucker after he stole second and third base. An Alex Bregman double that would score Altuve and Maldonado would make it 5-1. Michael Brantley would single in the sixth to bring in Chas McCormick to make 6-1. He would single again in the eight to plate Altuve and make it 7-1. Altuve would then go on to make it 10-1 with his homer in the ninth.

Lance McCullers Jr. started for the Astros, going four innings and allowing one run on five hits while striking out five. He was not as great as he was in game one but was good enough. He exited the game due to forearm tightness and hopefully will be available for the ALCS. The bullpen would finish the game off with five scoreless innings, with Yimi Garcia picking up the win.

Looking Ahead

The Astros will get ready to appear in their fifth consecutive ALCS, where they will face the Red Sox in a rematch of the 2018 ALCS. The Red Sox would win that series in five games en route to their World Series title. The Red Sox are coming off their ALDS win where they ousted the number one seed Tampa Bay Rays three games to one. Game one will be on Friday night at Minute Maid Park. The Astros and Red Sox faced each other twice in the regular season, with Houston winning the season series four games to two. This series will be fun to watch. Friday cannot get here fast enough. 

Julian Edelman’s return to New England

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman signals a first down against the Miami Dolphins during an NFL football game at Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020 in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

Julian Edelman will return to Gillette Stadium this weekend. He will be the New England Patriots’ guest of honor this weekend, as the Patriots will honor their former wide receiver at halftime of Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. Edelman retired in the offseason after playing 12 seasons in Foxborough. He was taken in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Kent State where he was a quarterback.

Edelman was a popular player and made plenty of big plays throughout his career. He finished with 620 receptions for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns in the regular season. He played well in the regular season but was exceptionally better in the postseason. His postseason numbers included 118 receptions for 1,442 yards and five touchdowns. Those numbers put him in second place on the career postseason list behind Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.

He would win three Super Bowl Championships and made great plays in all three of those. He was the MVP of Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams, helping New England win their 6th Lombardi Title. He finished with ten receptions for 141 yards, which was half of the Patriot’s total receiving yardage. While he was great against the Rams, few fans will never forget his unforgettable catch against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. That catch would help the Patriots to go on and complete the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. In their Super Bowl XLIX victory against the Seattle Seahawks, he caught nine passes for 109 yards and one touchdown.

Edelman was great for the Patriots, especially in the playoffs. One question that has been asked is whether or not he is a Hall of Famer due to his postseason numbers. That is a debate for another time, but this weekend in Foxborough, the Pats will honor him for a great career and a job well done.