These questions will be answered beginning on Thursday as the ALDS gets underway in Houston. This is yet another prediction, but with a twist.
Okay so Houston may have lead the Major League Baseball in runs per game in 2017, at 5.33.
After his disastrous playoff performance in Houston Thursday, Chris Sale got roughed up by the internet thanks to some quick-editing Wikipedia fans. Expect a pitcher's duel in this game.
Even after returning to the Red Sox lineup at the start of September, the team did all it could to give the veteran second baseman more rest.
But Sale had also rarely faced a lineup as deep and risky as Houston's, or a hitter as complete as Altuve.
Drew Pomeranz will prove to be a vital player in the ALDS.
So while it's true that there are reasons for worry tonight as the Sox open their playoff run against the slugging Houston Astros, there are reasons for optimism, too. Keuchel was 14-5 in the regular season, with a 2.90 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 145.2 innings pitched. That's when everything unraveled and the Red Sox seemed completely overmatched. With temperatures in Houston expected to hit the low 90s, players may become worn out from being in the sun. Keuchel was 14-5, posting a 2.90 ERA in the regular season and seems to be the right choice after Justin Verlander's incredible spell in game 1 win. He is 5-0 with a 2.24 ERA in nine career starts in the division series. Houston won three of those four games at Fenway park, with one of those wins being a huge 12-2.
Eduardo Nunez started at designated hitter in Game 1 over slugger Hanley Ramirez in part because he was 6 for 18 in his career against Verlander coming into the game.
By now, the Astros and Red Sox are quite familiar with each other. Nunez missed 19 of the last 20 regular-season games with what the team called a sore knee. He had the third-most stolen bases after his sixth consecutive 30-steal season.
The Red Sox will now head home to Boston in search of a lifeline. I think my first postseason experience I was in a wild-card game (with the Oakland A's in 2014), and I didn't get to pitch, so all I wanted to do previous year was pitch, and I got into the bullpen.
The Boston Red Sox hope to tie up this series before heading home for game three, as they were rocked 8-2 on Thursday.
The Houston Astros are off to a good start in this year's MLB Playoffs with an 8-2 win in Game 1 over Boston. And the Red Sox didn't trade for Sale for his oratory skills.
The Astros took control early.
Meanwhile, Chris Sale had a rough outing for the Boston Red Sox in the first game of the series. Game five is the same pitching matchup as game two, with Pomeranz and Keuchel taking the mound.
He connected again in the seventh off reliever Austin Maddox to give Houston a massive boost in the best-of-five series. But Verlander has lots of postseason experience, and he has learned that the most important thing to do is to keep your team in the game, and keep the Astros in the game he did, giving up just two runs despite giving up six hits and walking two batters. It always is. Dustin Pedroia got thrown out at third base, in the middle of a rally, the Red Sox trailing 2-0 at the time.