Kyle Schwarber’s second-inning grand slam put the Astros into an early 6-0 deficit that they would never get the chance to overcome, as the Red Sox piled on the homers in Fenway Park during a rowdy ALCS Game 3 on Monday night. The early clout was a morale boost at home — on top of the four runs it delivered — all but ensuring a Sox victory, as the Houston pitching crew gave up hit after hit.
Schwarber’s swing gave the Sox a commanding lead, and it was also historic.
The 2021 Red Sox are the first team since 1998 to hit three grand slams in a postseason run (when the Atlanta Braves did it) — and the first team in history to reach that metric in a single series. Need I even remind readers that it’s only the third game of a series that will play at least two more? Schwarber and the Sox have the potential to not only make history here, but blow the record out of the water, as the series — and possibly the postseason — continues.
The other two grand slams both took place in Game 2 in Houston, from designated hitter J.D. Martinez in the first inning and third baseman Rafael Devers in the second. With the way the Red Sox offense is looking, it’s a miracle the Astros aren’t down 3-0.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal wrote a piece today questioning whether the Astros pitchers could be inadvertently tipping pitches — a subtlety whose irony is certainly not lost on anyone after the trash-can-banging antics of the late-2010s Astros postseason teams. Maybe the accidental pitch-tipping is karma for the organization’s recent cheating scandal — you know, if you believe in that sort of thing. On the other hand, the Red Sox were found guilty of a similar scheme in 2018 (and are currently managed by the guy responsible for some of the Astros’ sign-stealing plots, Alex Cora), so maybe the Astros are just finding themselves in a pitching slump at the wrong time.
One of the Monday night homers was a two-run shot over the Green Monster from Martinez to put the Sox up 11-3 in the sixth inning. The notorious 37-foot wall in Fenway’s left field has been a source of much annoyance and dismay to visiting fans — Yankees supporters in particular were upset about its effect on the game earlier this month — but this is one of those cases where home field advantage doesn’t necessarily apply. The Red Sox don’t get the Monster lowered when they’re up to bat. If they want to homer out of left field, they’re facing the same barrier as everyone visiting — and they overcame it last night.
How much of an effect the wall will have on the rest of the postseason remains to be seen this week, but from the looks of it, the Astros have a lot more pressing concerns at the moment.