ATLANTA — The weather prevented full workouts Thursday at Truist Park, but a small group of Astros players managed to get in a quick session designed to learn the outfield’s nuances.
Among the decisions manager Dusty Baker faces for Game 3 of the World Series on Friday is how to construct a lineup in the NL ballpark minus the designated hitter. Yordan Alvarez, the ALCS MVP, figures to shift from DH to an outfield corner, leaving Baker to figure out who among Michael Brantley, Miles Straw and Kyle Tucker should claim the other two spots. Tucker played four games in center field this season, while Straw received most of the action in that position.
“It’s a different league, different responsibilities for different people,” Baker said. “My outfield is going to be the best I can come up with that day.”
The Astros last played here in 2017, only adding to the urgency to get players on the field for practice.
“That’s a long time ago, to not be familiar with the field, with the dimensions and the caroms and the corners,” Baker said.
The manager noted that carrying Marwin Gonzalez as an extra position player will give the Astros the flexibility they need for double switches.
Ian Anderson, the Braves’ starting pitcher for Game 3, recalled his greatest World Series memory as a fan. That occurred as a 6-year-old watching the Red Sox play the Cardinals in 2004.
“I remember watching that with my dad and staying up pretty late for that one,” Anderson said. “That’s kind of the first game I remember staying up late for and just seeing his reaction, being a lifetime [Red Sox] fan, was awesome.
“He’s probably more excited for this without a doubt. He was pretty jacked up after Game 1. So, yeah, he’ll probably be a mess, but he’ll enjoy it.”
Five Astros players — Tucker, Carlos Correa, Martin Maldonado, Yuli Gurriel and Zack Greinke — were named Thursday as finalists in the American League for Gold Glove awards.
“That’s the work part of the game, the fielding part,” Baker said. “You have got to take pride in [it]. The only way to get better and to stay good at it is to work. You have got to continue to work.”