February 19, 2018

Selfless Keuchel aims to give Astros 2-0 lead vs. Red Sox

07 October 2017, 12:09 | Ken Black

Selfless Keuchel aims to give Astros 2-0 lead vs. Red Sox

Right-hander Corey Kluber who won 18 games for the Indians during the regular season will strt Game 2 of the ALDS on Friday at Progressive Field

Eduardo Rodriguez fell apart in his last start, giving up five runs to the Astros in less than two innings, and given that the Red Sox are short on versatile lefties in the bullpen, it seems likely Rodriguez would be moved to the 'pen. He's one of the few players remaining who languished through a rebuilding process that led to three straight 100-loss seasons from 2011-13, and is perhaps the main reason this team ran away with the AL West title this year.

Red Sox: Pomeranz will make his first career postseason start after going 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in two relief appearances in the playoffs. The Red Sox closer had a vintage year in 2017, and if you can get a bridge from the starters to him, you'll win.

Houston's Jose Altuve has put together an MVP-caliber season hitting.346 with 112 runs, 24 homers and 81 RBIs.

So, how good is Altuve?

After Verlander and Sale meet in Game 1, it will be Houston lefty Dallas Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award victor, meeting Boston's Drew Pomeranz on Friday. Starlin Castro, Brett Gardner, and Chase Headley have all hit at least 12 home runs as well. Despite a great outing by Sale, the Astros, motivated by the chance of winning a game five in Houston, are the team that capitalizes on what chances they get off Sale, and win this game by the final score of 4-2.

Despite the lack of dingers, Boston was still a respectable sixth among AL teams in runs scored, accumulating more stolen bases than any other AL playoff team.

When Sale mislocated pitches, it was often in the middle of the plate, and the best offense in the league teed off. He was carried off the field by Manager John Farrell and the trainer, Masai Takahashi. Sale's slider velocity crept up through September-usually at 79 miles per hour, he started averaging closer to 81 mph-and at the same time, hitters went from slugging.282 on it to.644. They are seeking to end that this season. (Although he's 28, he had the misfortune to come up with the White Sox in 2010; until the December trade that sent him to Boston for a stable of prospects, he'd never been on a team that won more than 88 games.) He admitted yesterday that he wasn't sure what to expect.

That difference comes largely from the retirement of David Ortiz, who contributed 38 home runs a year ago to cap off his career.

I really didn't even need to check Twitter. "This is a new season for me". He believes there is an advantage to having playoff experience, but no matter how many times he's done it, he still deals with jitters when he takes the mound in a game that means so much. While he has shown glimpses of the pitcher he was past year, Porcello is a major gamble to put on the mound in a potentially series-deciding game, especially against a team as offensively savvy as the Astros.

President of baseball operations with the Red Sox Dave Dombrowski said recently that Pedroia's situation will have to be managed for the remainder of the second baseman's career.

"Hey, he works extremely hard, but he's pitched 215 innings", Willis said.

Nunez, 30, initially suffered his knee injury on September 9, forcing him to miss more than two weeks of action.

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