The Boston Red Sox head into Houston to face the Astros in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at 4:08 ET and I am here to tell you how far I think this team will go and why. Let me be very clear here, the winner of Game 1 is the winner of this series. Yes, you heard that correct. Whoever wins tomorrow wins this series.
Chris Sale is taking the bump against Justin Verlander and this is such an essential game, especially for the Sox – that I simply do not see a way of them winning this series if they fall into a 0-1 hole. Even more concerning for the Sox is how Sale has been pitching lately. Two of his last three starts have been down right awful – going 5.2 innings and allowing 4 runs against the Rays and 5.0 innings against the Jays allowing 5 runs. If Sale has this performance on Thursday then the Astros will win Game 1 easily and the BoSox will be in big trouble because Verlander is pitching very well for the Stros.
Since joining Houston, Verlander has yet to give up more than two earned runs and has gone more than 6 innings in each outing. Verlander has also dominated the Red Sox batters as not one single Sox player has gone Yahtzee off him in his career. Something will have to give here Thursday afternoon and I think it does.
I look for Boston to work the count and grind against Verlander in every single at bat and I also look for Chris Sale to pitch like his Cy Young self – shutting down the Astros and going 7+ innings. This will lead to the Houston bullpen coming in early and the Sox having success stealing Game 1 on the road. This will set the table for Porcello and Pomeranz on a very short leash with David Price waiting in the bullpen and pitching very well in his new role. Look for Farrell to use Price as a Andrew Miller out of the pen whenever he needs him which will help tremendously and the Sox will win this series.
Depending on who they get in the ALCS I will be back with another breakdown and prediction, but for now – LOCK IT IN! SOX ARE HEADING TO THE ALCS!!
CUE THE MUSIC!!!