FIRST PITCH: 7:07 pm CDT
TV: FOX / FOX-INT
RADIO: ESPN Radio
Series tied 0-0
Once again, the friggin’ Astros are in the ALCS, to make everybody miserable knowing just how revered their dynastic run through the West could have been had they not kicked it off by cheating their butts off. Seriously, Houston is such a good flippin’ team. Since absolutely bombing their way through league realignment in the early ‘10s (one of this century’s first examples of the extreme tanking strategy) they’ve made the Championship Series in five consecutive years.
Honestly, the same could be said about Boston — gah, once again, the friggin’ Red Sox are in the ALCS. The Sox’s success has been more spread out — this is their third ALCS appearance in the last ten years, but each prior trip resulted in a World Series championship. (Eventually - not directly. As some of you may know, you cannot win the finals during the semifinals.)
BOS - Chris Sale (POST - 1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, BB, 2 K, HR)
Sale made his way back from rehab late in the year, and turned in nine starts (a battle with Minnesota included) with solid numbers — more strikeouts than innings pitched, and an ERA creeping down towards 3.00. But his outing against Tampa Bay didn’t go well — although the Rays pulled off the 14-6 victory, Sale didn’t show up for the second inning of work.
Fluke blow-up start? Or indicative of lingering issues? Sale has a chance to set the narrative, as well as the tone for the Championship Series, depending on his performance tonight.
HOU - Framber Valdez (POST - 4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, BB, 6 K)
Valdez’s postseason line reads something like Sale’s; he gave up a few runs in a short amount of time, didn’t pitch deep into the ballgame, and yet saw his team win anyway (the Astros knocked off the White Sox 9-4 in Valdez’s Game Two start.)
Both Valdez and Sale are making their second appearances of the postseason tonight, but Valdez will do it from the comfort of his own home. (Well, again, not literally. Do I have to clarify everything? He will do it from the comfort of Minute Maid Park.) Valdez has gotten exactly one more out on the road than he has at home in his career (156.1 IP in Houston, 156.2 IP everywhere else) and has a home ERA more than a half-run lower than his marks on tour.
Will Valdez turn in another home gem? Will Sale bounce back? And what about the offenses? Both sides got the mashin’ on in the divisional round. Will it continue? Or will the first game simply remain scoreless, sort of, forever?
Find out tonight.
Who will win the American League pennant?
This poll is closed
Boston Red Sox