Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros 4:00pm EST
Red Sox: Sale (17-8, 2.90 ERA) Astros: Verlander (15-8, 3.36 ERA)
The American League Division Series begins Thursday with the Boston Red Sox traveling to Houston to face the Astros. The Astros took the season series four games to three.
Justin Verlander will be making the start for the Astros. Verlander is 5-0 with a 1.06 earned run average since joining the Astros on August 31. Verlander made two starts this season against Boston, both while with the Tigers. In those starts Verlander allowed three earned runs over 12 innings, he did not get a decision in either start. Current Red Sox batters have a lifetime .211 batting average and zero career home runs against Verlander.
Verlander is no stranger to the postseason, he has a career 7-5 record with a 3.39 earned run average in the 16 post season starts he made with the Detroit Tigers.
Chris Sale has made 180 career stats but this will be the aces first playoff appearance. Sale did not face the Astros this season but is 5-1 with a 1.31 earned run average against Houston in his career. Current Astros hitters have a career .209 earned run average against Sale, but Astros start second baseman and possible American League MVP Jose Altuve is 8 for 21 (.381 BA) in his career against Sale.
Verlander and Sale have faced each other seven times in their careers, five times when Sale was with the Chicago White Sox and twice this season while Sale was with the Red Sox. Sale’s career earned run average in match-ups against Verlander is 2.95. Verlander has a 1.93 career earned run average while a member of the Detroit Tigers in his match-ups against Sale.
With two aces on the mound and very good bullpens, I expect a low scoring game here. The Red Sox bullpen ranked second in the American League behind Cleveland with a 3.15 earned run average on the season. Their bullpen is anchored by closer Craig Kimbrel who is 5-0 with 35 saves in 39 save opportunities.
My prediction: Astros 3 Red Sox 2
(Astros MONEYLINE -121 and UNDER 7 Runs)
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