Verlander to start ALDS Game 1 for Astros


Verlander will square up against Red Sox lefty Chris Sale. They also finished with the third-best starters' ERA at 4.03 - three points above the Red Sox' 4.06 - and added Justin Verlander at the waiver trade deadline. "Every pitch he has is a wipeout pitch". Sale will be pitching in the playoffs for the first time. No matter who wins, it promises to be memorable.

If the Astros have one significant weakness, it's left-handed pitching.

It is virtually impossible. After 260 regular-season games, Sale will make his first postseason start. "But mentally, you just try to just block that out, know it's a part of the game, try to come back and do all you can to help your teammates". Or do you know someone who does?

Which team led Major League Baseball in runs, hits, doubles, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging ... and struck out fewer times than any other club? Bear in mind that this is practically.200 lower than their overall 2017 OPS of.823. The start time for that game has yet to be determined. He remains a very good defensive center fielder and has sneaky pop for his size. Fernando Abad took the loss, falling to 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA this season. Farrell then went to Price, Addison Reed and closer Craig Kimbrel.

He's 7-for-19 (.368) vs. David Price, the Red Sox's secret weapon in the bullpen. Porcello allowed a league-worst 38 homers in the regular season.

The Astros are built for offense, but that requires them to overpower the Red Sox or Indians in the postseason. Verlander is looking forward to the tough matchup.

It was supposed to be Lance McCullers with that great curveball, but too many injuries and some arm fatigue might keep him out of the rotation.

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

However, a healthy Keuchel is a formidable opposing dance partner for him on the mound. The play of guys like Anders Bjork, Charlie McAvoy, and others will be crucial.

Eduardo Rodriguez, a candidate to join the Red Sox bullpen, said he's willing to pitch out of any role this postseason. He averaged 3.6 walks per nine innings this season, and putting Astros on base ahead of other unsafe Astros is a bad idea.

"We had planned to give a number of guys a day off after we did clinch", Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

What are the Astros playing for? . They need to assume Game 3 in Boston is a lost cause, and hope the baseball gods smile on them when it comes to pass.

Tyler Clippard got the save, his fifth of the season and second with Houston.

But on the eve of the AL Division Series, Pedroia insisted he never feared he would be unable to play in the postseason for a Red Sox team that always believed it would get there. The Astros have been up for anything this year, trying out new strategies and showing that they have zero hesitation to buck traditional thinking (the way they deploy their bullpen in high leverage situations, for instance). Surely, they wouldn't bow out in the ALDS, (which they did, 3 games-to-none at the hands of the Angels).

"There a good team, they didn't sneak up on anybody either, " Astros Manager A.J. Hinch said.

Will the Astros finally live up to Sports Illustrated's four-year old prediction of a championship in 2017?