It’s Friday in the Danger Room known as the World Series, and youth will be the name of the game in this one as the Braves host the Astros in Game 3 of this year’s Fall Classic.
Ian Anderson is getting the nod for tonight’s game and as usual, it’s all about the first inning with him. If he can get out of the first without too much of a problem, then I’d be willing to bet that he can get some good work done against Houston tonight. While Ian did end up with only four innings under his belt during his most recent start in the NLCS against the Dodgers, part of that was due to the nature of the Postseason where sacrificing pitchers in the (then-ultimately successful) pursuit of runs is a normal tactic. If that was a regular season game, Anderson probably would’ve gotten to pitch more than four innings and I’d venture to say that he would’ve continued pitching pretty well for however long he had left.
So once again, Anderson has got to get through the first inning without any drama or major consequences. If that happens then he can be relied upon. If not, then I’d imagine that this game is going to be nervier than usual, and that’s saying something considering that all the games this time of year are nervy. With that being said, I’m hoping that Ian Anderson can find confidence in his performance last time out while balancing that with the reality that this Astros lineup is nothing to play around with. They’ve already shown that they can score runs in bunches and do so in all types of ways. Still, if Anderson could handle the Dodgers then I’m certain that he can be up to the task for this game.
On the other side of things, the Astros are also sending a rookie of their own to the mound to start Game 3. Luis Garcia will be making his fourth start of the 2021 Postseason and Houston will be hoping that the Garcia that showed up for Game 6 of the ALCS will be in town, instead of the one that got knocked around during the ALDS and the early stages of that Championship Series against the Red Sox. In his first two starts of the Postseason, Garcia gave up five runs in each of them and the furthest he got in either of those starts was two outs deep into the third inning.
A lot of the change in results for Garcia from those first two Postseason starts to the ALCS clincher is the fact that his velocity went way up. Jeff Passan noticed the stark difference during that game:
Luis Garcia's stuff is ticking way, way, way up tonight. Like 3 full mph. Already he's thrown the four hardest pitches of his major league career, including one at 97.8 mph. And after a season in which his fastball averaged 93.3 mph, he's sitting at an average of 96.3 tonight.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 23, 2021
If he’s “amped up” like that again, then the Braves may be in for a fight. Even if he’s back to his normal velocity, then this should be a matter of the Braves taking care of business at the plate. This team has had some excellent at-bats during this playoff run and if they can work Garcia and force him to make a mistake, then the Braves should be more than capable of punishing those mistakes.
With all that being said, this should be a pretty exciting game. The change in venue alone should help the Braves, since they’ll be returning to National League baseball and a crowd that is going to be incredibly fired up to see their team playing in the World Series for the first time since 1999. I know we like to stay analytical with our feet firmly planted in the world of reality over here, but I’d like to imagine that the energy from the crowd is going to have a positive impact on this one. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a Braves fan and the players themselves should be far more excited to go out there and try to bring home a World Series win for that crowd.
Game Date/Time: Friday, October 29, 8:09 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 680 / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network, ESPN Radio