With an 162 game season in the books, the MLB playoffs are finally upon us. The first official playoff game, excluding the two wild card games, is an ALDS contest between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros. Both teams won their respective divisions and look poised to make a deep playoff run culminating in a World Series trophy.
For game one of the series, both teams will be using their pitching ace in what should make for an extremely close and low scoring contest. The Red Sox have already announced that American League Cy Young contender Chris Sale will be starting this game. This season, Sale has a record of 17-8 with an earned run average of 2.90 and over 300 strikeouts. Sale has been dominant for the majority of the season but has recently struggled in his last few starts. In his last seven decisions of the season, Sale has only won three of them in comparison to his four losses. If the Red Sox plan on winning this pivotal game one on the road, Sale will need to return to his Cy Young form and shut down this potent Houston offense.
The Astros will counter Chris Sale by sending out playoff veteran Justin Verlander. Verlander was acquired by Houston mid-season to help fortify their starting rotation and Verlander has definitely succeeded thus far. Since joining the Astros, Verlander has won all five of his starts and has an earned run average of 1.06. Verlander has been practically unbeatable during his short tenure in Houston and the Red Sox stand no chance against him if he continues to pitch like this.
As for the lineups, I have to side with Houston. Houston’s lineup is full of young talent that possess ridiculous talent. The offense has the perfect blend of speed and power. Led by American League MVP candidate Jose Altuve, this team has the ability to score runs in bunches and overpower opposing teams. Altuve, in particular, had 24 home runs and 81 runs batted in while having a ridiculous .346 batting average. Joining him is teammate George Springer who hit 34 home runs this season and is now the leadoff hitter for the Astros. The Red Sox do have several great hitters on the team like Dustin Pedroia and Rafael Devers but the Red Sox have struggled hitting home runs all year which could pose as a serious problem when facing an offensive juggernaut like the Astros. Without the ability to score runs with one swing of the bat, the Red Sox are already at a major disadvantage.
As for predictions, I have to side with the home team. The Astros won 48 of their 81 games at home and have, arguably, the hottest pitcher in baseball on the mound. Meanwhile, Sale has struggled of late and has to face an extremely deep and talented lineup. I expect Sale to struggle a bit while Verlander coasts against this underwhelming lineup from Boston.
As for score, I will take the Astros by a score of 5-1.
Red Sox vs. Astros: Game Time, TV Channel & Viewing Details
Event: Red Sox vs. Astros
Date: Thursday, October 5, 2017
Start Time: 4:00 P.M. EST
Location: Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas
Broadcast: MLB Network
How To Watch Red Sox vs. Astros On Mobile
How To Watch Red Sox vs. Astros Live Stream Online
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