Let’s take a closer look at how the Astros and Red Sox matchup for Game 1 of the ALCS.
Justin Verlander. Chris Sale. Game 1 of the ALCS. In today’s baseball, we aren’t treated to an old school starting pitcher matchup often. Anything can happen in baseball, but we may see a true starting pitchers duel in this era of new reliance on the bullpen.
RHP Justin Verlander (214 IP, 2.52 ERA, 2.78 FIP) vs. LHP Chris Sale (158 IP, 2.11 ERA, 1.98 FIP)
2B Jose Altuve
3B Alex Bregman
1B Yuli Gurriel
DH Tyler White
RF Josh Reddick
Once again the Astros have Correa low in the lineup as he has struggled since his return from the DL in August. Hopefully his three-run homer during Game 3 of the ALDS in Cleveland is a sign of good things to come. But until he has proven the ability to swing the bat well, manager AJ Hinch likely keeps Houston’s star shortstop lower in the lineup.
Maldonado gets the nod with Verlander back on the mound, similar to Game 1 of the ALDS. White is the DH as Evan Gattis remains on the bench for this one.
Heres how the Red Sox lineup looks before Game 1.
RF Mookie Betts
1B Steve Pearce
2B Brock Holt
Betts and Martinez both have MVP-level numbers. Benintendi and Bogaerts are quite good as well. There are also a couple of former Astro connections in Martinez and Pearce. Like Houston, Boston’s lineup is quite good. Both teams finished with a top-five offense in the AL.
The 108-win Red Sox and 103-win Astros always felt like on a collision course all season long. This series, on paper, is too close to call. Each team has valid reasons to feel confident. The one edge Houston possesses heading into the ALCS could lie with the bullpen. But anything could happen in a seven-game series. Let’s watch and find out.