Astros start Verlander in ALDS opener

If Chris Sale could secure for the Red Sox a pivotal opening victory, it would inoculate this young team with the confidence that they need to go on a serious postseason run.

Boston has had its struggles as of late, but don't be fooled.

Team USA looks to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. And their pitching matches up very well with Houston, especially in a shorter series. Both pitching staffs have a number of well-known stars, and this isn't a case where the Q scores exceed the on-the-field production by any means. Farrell's other choices for the team's third starter include 2016 Cy Young victor Rick Porcello and veteran Doug Fister.

Unfortunately, left-handed starters are exactly what Boston has in abundance.

This five-game series could all be determined by what happens in Game 1, and what a Game 1 it should be: Justin Verlander against Chris Sale. He was the losing pitcher in Games 2 and 5 of last year's World Series against the Chicago Cubs. The guy misses bats like nobody else in the game and is sure going to get his fair share of strikeouts against a swing happy Astros clubs that swings big. Taking sort of a myopic, yet calculated, look at Boston's path in the 2017 postseason, it's evident that we should be able to get off to a strong start against the Astros - much stronger than the start that we got off to a year ago. He's 2-8 with a 5.54 in his career there. That last time out, however, he ran into a bit of trouble, giving up five runs over seven frames. After Pomeranz, the Red Sox likely will turn to Eduardo Rodriguez, but they also have Doug Fister and, far less likely, the reigning AL Cy Young victor, Rick Porcello.

Houston's baseball team winning 11 more games in the year of Hurricane Harvey.

Over his last 16 starts, Verlander, 34, went 10-3 with a 1.92 ERA.

Verlander has faced the Red Sox twice this season, going 1-1. The Astros have other options, including Charlie Morton. Sunday's Game 3 at Fenway is set to start at 2:38 p.m. also on FS1.

It's no secret how tough Houston's lineup has been all year. Mayor Sylvester Turner joined by Astros owner Jim Crane and players Derek Fisher and Joe Musgrove pumped up the crowd saying, "We are Houston proud and Houston Strong".

The Astros led the majors by a wide margin in runs (896) and batting average (.282). Jose Altuve hit.417, Marwin Gonzalez.364, Carlos Beltran.357, Yuli Gurriel.333 and Brian McCann.333 with three homers.

It will be interesting to see how Sale performs under the bright lights of the playoffs.

That game against the Astros was a sample of how Farrell will use his bullpen in the playoffs.

Houston also has momentum coming into the playoffs. To repeat: Given the uncertainty after Sale, Game 1 might be crucial if the Red Sox are to win this series. They are familiar opponents having spent multiple seasons battling each other in the American League Central Division on their respective former teams, the Tigers and White Sox. So, it's obvious they were the most dominant offensive team in the Major League Baseball. If Bogaerts can perform up to his normal standards and one of the trio of Dustin Pedroia, Andrew Benintendi or Mookie Betts can get hot, then the Sox will be in business. If they get past NY in the winner-take-all wild card, they even hold a 6-3 record in 2017 in games played at Cleveland's Progressive Field. But that's still a long ways away. Which team is best stacked to save a championship? That would make me really proud.

Recommended News

  • The Google Home app confirms the Google Home Mini before tomorrow's launch

    The Google Home app confirms the Google Home Mini before tomorrow's launch

    The front camera is located on the left corner of the top bezel with a long earpiece which could also double as a stereo speaker. The pre-order listing on Walmart was taken offline quickly, but 9to5Google was able to download the images of both devices.
    How a gerrymandering case in Wisconsin could affect elections in Pennsylvania

    How a gerrymandering case in Wisconsin could affect elections in Pennsylvania

    The Maryland case alleges that the state's Democratic leadership drew congressional maps that put Republicans at a disadvantage. Another was aired by an unusually candid Chief Justice John Roberts, who explained his "main problem" late in the hearing.
    Seahawks overcome slow start to crush Colts thanks to unlikely heroes

    Seahawks overcome slow start to crush Colts thanks to unlikely heroes

    Justin Coleman (28) celebrates with rookie Shaquill Griffin after Coleman returned an interception 28 yards for a TD Sunday. McKissic was signed off waivers late a year ago and came into the game with two carries for 5 yards in a Seahawks uniform.
  • Start times revealed for first two games of Red Sox-Astros ALDS

    Rick Porcello has been pretty bad all year, while Doug Fister went from awful , to great, back to awful in a short period of time. If the Red Sox are facing elimination in Game 4 then Farrell will presumably be more open to bringing Sale back to pitch early.
    Fans gearing up for Diamondbacks vs. Rockies Wild Card game

    Fans gearing up for Diamondbacks vs. Rockies Wild Card game

    On the Rockies side, expect a big game from Carlos Gonzalez , who is hitting.333 off of Greinke in his career with 5 home runs. With two on and two outs and the home team clinging to a one-run lead, Pollock lined a triple to center field scoring J.D.
    Yankees Advance To ALCS After 8-4 Wildcard Win Over Twins

    Yankees Advance To ALCS After 8-4 Wildcard Win Over Twins

    After all, a couple of his moonshots this season have visited that area of the ballpark, where Yankees greats are honored. Maybe the Yankees would still have scored eight runs, even if they had fallen behind by five.
  • Jason Aldean Posts Emotional Statement About Las Vegas Shooting

    Jason Aldean Posts Emotional Statement About Las Vegas Shooting

    Eric Paddock, the brother of the suspect, told the Orlando Sentinel that he has given a statement to police. Almost 60 people were killed and more than 500 were injured as he took aim at the festival grounds below.
    Bad for Real Madrid: Eden Hazard to out-earn Paul Pogba

    Bad for Real Madrid: Eden Hazard to out-earn Paul Pogba

    I do still think you can get at them and I think Jose Mourinho might make two or three changes to give them a bit more control. Chelsea's bad home form, four points from four league games so far at Stamford Bridge is a serious cause for concern.
    Fremont County residents react to Denver Broncos, NFL protests

    Fremont County residents react to Denver Broncos, NFL protests

    So how we live should be an example for the country.as far as ignoring color and personalities, any differences, ignoring those. In the caption he said: "The only time I will ever take a knee is to pray and to thank the Good Lord for what he's given me".
  • Sebastian Vettel set to avoid Suzuka gearbox penalty

    Sebastian Vettel set to avoid Suzuka gearbox penalty

    Most strategists had modelled his race and had him finishing fourth, catching Ricciardo at the end. But was Vettel's crash another "mistake"? Vettel was up to sixth by Lap 17 and pushing hard.
    More misery for Crystal Palace as Christian Benteke faces injury lay-off

    More misery for Crystal Palace as Christian Benteke faces injury lay-off

    The Eagles are also undergoing a striker crisis as Christian Benteke has been ruled out for six-eight weeks. Even dealing with injuries early in the 2017-18 Premier League season, Manchester United have been rolling.
    Presidents Cup 2017: Friday's four-ball pairings

    Presidents Cup 2017: Friday's four-ball pairings

    Three former presidents were on hand Thursday to watch - President Bill Clinton, President George Bush and President Barack Obama. Global captain Nick Price was philosophical, pointing out that there are plenty of points to be decided.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.