Boston and Houston split the first two games of their ALCS matchup in Minute Maid Park, and now the Red Sox and Astros are in Fenway Park for tonight’s game, (which starts at 8:08 PM on FS1), and two more games after that. So what are the challenges of playing three in a row in another team’s ballpark in a postseason series?
“Everybody knows the road is difficult,” Astros’ skipper Dusty Baker said on Sunday, in his press conference from Boston, MA.
“Probably the challenges that are going to be here, more than anything, are the weather conditions. You know, playing outside, where [in Houston] we are playing in a controlled environment.
“It’s supposed to be — I heard it’s supposed to be cold, like New England fall cold, but this is something that you have to put out of your mind. That’s probably the major challenge.
“The wall is probably one of the main challenges, for our outfielders and infielders.
“Especially if you haven’t been there. They know their wall and their stadium better than anybody. Very little foul territory down the left field line. I think it’s only a foot or two or less, so that’s a major challenge. It changes your cut-offs and relay positions, your infielders have to go out more. You got caroms down the line, and you got caroms off the wall.”
With a late start tonight, however, Baker said his club would have plenty of time to get used to playing in Fenway, and dealing with the Green Monster in left.
“Some of our guys can go out there a little bit earlier,” he explained. “We thought it was better that we work out here versus leave early in the morning. You know, get there, work out, have a late dinner. I wanted my guys to get a workout here and then get into Boston early enough to have a nice meal and relaxing time. Much like — you ever seen gladiator movies? They always have a good meal before the fight.”
Going into Game 3, Red Sox’ skipper Alex Cora was asked about the importance of this game in particular, after the clubs split the first two games.
“I mean, every game is important, right?” he asked rhetorically.
“We did a good job yesterday avoiding being down 2-0, which it was very important.
“Obviously, tomorrow somebody is going to win tomorrow, somebody is going to go up 2-1, and then Game 4, as you know is a huge game in every series, right, in a seven-game series.
“But coming here, being at home, making the series the best-out-of-five and hosting three, it makes us feel good, but we still face one of the best teams in the big leagues. They’re really good offensively on the road, and you saw it yesterday for how big of a lead it was, it was never comfortable with them. They’re always a walk and a bloop and a swing away from making it interesting, and they did it yesterday. We expect that out of that offense the whole time.”
Who’ll come out of Game 3 with an advantage in the best-of-seven series?