The last time Nathan Eovaldi and Luis Garcia went head-to-head, the ALCS went through a few series-altering moments in favor of the Boston Red Sox.
Boston needs to conjure up the same magic it showed at the plate in Game 2 to stay alive in the series Friday night.
The Red Sox appeared to be on the way to a World Series berth after they won Game 2 at Minute Maid Park and followed that up with a Game 3 victory at Fenway Park. But the Houston Astros countered with wins in Games 4 and 5 and have a chance to finish off the series at home, but they have a disadvantage in the pitching matchup. Garcia did not make it out of the second inning in Game 2 and is more susceptible to giving up big hits than Eovaldi.
If Boston wins Friday night, the teams will return to the diamond Saturday at 8:08 p.m. ET for Game 7.
ALCS Game 6 Info
Start Time: 8:08 p.m. ET
Live Stream: FoxSports.com and Fox Sports app
Pitching Matchup: Nathan Eovaldi (BOS) vs. Luis Garcia (HOU)
Game 6: Boston +100 (bet $100 to win $100); Houston -120 (bet $120 to win $100)
Series Price: Houston -425; Boston +360
Boston 6, Houston 3
Boston's offense has been stagnant since its 12-run outburst in Game 3, but it has a favorable matchup to stay alive in Game 6.
The Red Sox got five earned runs off Garcia in the first and second innings before he was removed from Game 2 with right knee discomfort.
Garcia is healthy enough to start Game 6, but he may not be as effective as the Astros need him to be to clinch a spot in the World Series. The right-handed hurler has conceded 10 earned runs in his two starts this postseason. He finished the regular season by conceding three or more earned runs in three of his last five starts.
Garcia is susceptible to a large concession, and Boston should look to chase him early to max out Houston's bullpen output.
The Astros relievers are fully rested after Framber Valdez went eight innings in Game 5, but Boston can put that unit under pressure ahead of a potential Game 7 by chasing Garcia in the first few innings.
Boston has scored a combined 22 runs in the first three innings of the opening five games of this series. If the Red Sox start fast again, they can chase Garcia and ease the pressure off Eovaldi.
The 31-year-old pitched with minimal pressure in Game 2, as he conceded three earned runs off five hits in 5.1 innings of work. Boston manager Alex Cora went back to Eovaldi in relief in Game 4. That move backfired when Houston broke open that game with a seven-run ninth inning.
Eovaldi has been Boston's best starter this postseason. He struck out eight batters in each of his first two starts and kept the lead in ALCS Game 2. The right-handed hurler has been more consistent in the playoffs than Garcia, and that should shine through again Friday.
If Boston forces Game 7, the two pitching staffs should have everyone available as they try to get through to the World Series.
Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.
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