The Astros took an early lead and although the Red Sox kept pace at first, the best offense in baseball lifted Houston to an 8-2 win. With 17 regular season losses, this may make the Red Sox hesitant.
Unsurprisingly to anyone, Chris Sale was given the ball for the Boston Red Sox first playoff game this year.
Chris Sale was dominant for the Boston Red Sox for most of the season.
Altuve saw eight lower-half pitches in Game 1. He connected again in the seventh off reliever Austin Maddox to give Houston a quick boost in the best-of-five series. Farrell and another Red Sox employee eventually picked him up and carried him off the field and into the dugout as he winced in pain. While each player has the potential for a great start but also has major weaknesses. Mitch Moreland scored on the play to make it 2-1 Astros, and if Reddick's throw was late, the Red Sox would have had the momentum and a player in scoring position.
- Clayton Kershaw is a three-time Cy Young Award victor, a five-time ERA champ and a seven-time All-Star.
In the interest of transparency, let it be noted that this analysis is very much of the hot take variety. He became the second pitcher ever to allow at least three homers and seven earned runs in his first playoff start, joining Cincinnati's Gene Thompson in the 1939 World Series. His ERA sat at 4.97, and after an underwhelming first season in Boston it was fair to wonder what he'd be able to contribute to the 2017 Sox. The Astros winning this series would bring relief to the city of Houston as they recover from Hurricane Harvey. He finished third in AL MVP Award balloting previous year, has made five All-Star teams, won three Silver Sluggers, and won one Gold Glove. Verlander has been excellent for the Astros, and did outduel Sale with the Tigers at the beginning of this season.
Getting the start at Minute Maid Park is meaningful for Keuchel, who is 36-21 with a 2.94 ERA at home in his career. The first is fatigue.
The Houston Astros faced a pitcher last night who will get some votes for the Cy Young Award. Those recent starts were highlighted by giving up six runs to the Oakland Athletics and four to the Baltimore Orioles. It was just the second time in his career that Sale has given up two homers in the first inning.
Boston on the other hand will have to get crucial hits off the Astros' ace pitchers to have a chance to win this series. And maybe the Red Sox bats will come to life, and even produce a home run or two. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Altuve's three-homer game was just the 10th in playoff history. Trouble generally seems to arise when Rodriguez stays in the game with his pitch count high, but he does have a knack for keeping the Red Sox close through five innings.
Keuchel, who will start opposite Red Sox lefthander Drew Pomeranz, will be making his second Division Series start and third postseason start.
The Astros are as complete as any team in the Major League Baseball, but ultimately their chances to win their first title will all will rest on whether or not they can overcome their kryptonite of left-handed pitching.
"Anytime he mislocated, particularly in the middle of the plate, they made him pay for it ..." He entered the day 4-for-26 with no extra-base hits and two RBIs in his previous six career postseason games.