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Championship Series Day 7 Preview

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ALCS Game 5: Red Sox at Astros

MLB: ALCS-Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are at day 7 of the Championship Series round. The Dodgers and Brewers are taking the day off to head back to Milwaukee, with the Dodgers just needing one win there to punch their ticket to the World Series. In the ALCS, the Red Sox now hold a 3-1 series edge after yet another marathon of a 9 inning game, bookended by a controversial non-home run in the first inning and an amazing diving catch to end the game at peak threat level.

The Red Sox now look to win their 3rd in a row on the road in Houston and punch their own ticket to the Fall Classic. Tonight’s game starts at 8:09 ET, which more than likely means that if the Red Sox do win the Pennant, their fans won’t be able to celebrate it until after midnight. It might be an unproductive Friday in Boston tomorrow.

Astros’ Starter

Looking to save the season and send the series back to Boston, the Astros turn to one of the best pitchers of his generation in Justin Verlander. Verlander held the Red Sox to 2 runs on 2 hits over 6 innings back in Game 1, earning the only victory on the Houston ledger in this series. He also allowed 2 runs on 2 hits in his ALDS start, and has actually allowed 2 runs or fewer in 7 of his 8 career Astro Postseason starts, with the lone exception being game 2 of last year’s World Series, where he allowed 3 runs on 2 hits.

Looking at career head to head matchups, Verlander has done an excellent job against the best the Red Sox have to offer (JD Martinez only has 6 PA). Mookie Betts has a career .332 OPS in 22 PA. Xander Bogaerts has a .450 OPS in 25 PA. Andrew Benintendi has a .570 OPS in 19 PA. Jackie Bradley Jr has a .327 OPS in 16 PA. The one to watch out for for Verlander seems to be Eduardo Nuñez, who has an .868 OP in 26 PA, including a home run and pair of doubles.

Red Sox Starter

Instead of getting a game 1 rematch, Chris Sale has been scratched and pushed back due to illness. Obviously the Red Sox would love to clinch today, and that would have the added benefit of giving Sale until Tuesday to get fully healthy. And then they have a healthy and well rested Sale to kick off the World Series.

So instead of Sale, the Astros get to take a second crack at David Price. Price had a bit of a weight lifted off his shoulders in game 2 of this series, as his team won one of his playoff starts for the first time in his career. However, he was pulled with 2 outs in the 5th after his second walk of the inning, and did not go the required 5 innings to earn the win.

In total in that game 2 start, Price went 4.2 innings, allowing 4 runs on 5 hits, issuing 4 walks and also striking out 4. He allowed a 3rd inning home run to Marwin Gonzalez, so it was entirely reasonable that when Gonzalez came back up in the 5th after Price put the second man on that Cora ended Price’s night.

Other Notes

George Springer will look to extend his 12 game hitting streak, a very impressive streak in which he has hit 9 home runs, 5 doubles and driven in 13.

Jose Altuve seems to be hobbled more and more each game, and probably did a bit more damage when he slid into second base yesterday.

Jackie Bradley Jr only has 5 hits in this series, but he has driven in 9 of Boston’s 25 runs, an impressive number even when you don’t consider he has 2 games batting in the 8 spot and the other 2 in the 9 spot.

Find the Link

Find the link between Price, Verlander and Fernando Rodney