The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox have set their rosters for their AL Division Series beginning Thursday, with the Astros leaving off three veteran pitchers and the Red Sox including infielder Eduardo Nunez.
Boston was the heavy favorite in the ALDS last year, and it weighed on them, especially after the Indians jumped out and then rode Andrew Miller to victory.
Everything about his season for the Red Sox was superb. I think that can continue against Justin Verlander and the Astros. Both clubs have multiple aces that can work through an entire outing to elevate their team to victory. A single pitcher does not a playoff team make. He should see time in the late innings, possibly as a pinch hitter, and as a defensive substitute.
You never want to peak too soon if you're a baseball team with aspirations of winning the World Series.
Britton believes the ability to be multiple bodes well for this year's Sox.
He may have experienced a few hiccups in September, but as long as Sale is healthy, he gives the Sox a change in any series. In his last eight starts, the 28-year-old went 3-4 with a 4.30 ERA.
Verlander will face off against AL Cy Young candidate Chris Sale in Game 1.
David Price has been fantastic, but is working out of the bullpen now. Verlander is looking forward to the matchup, "He's a fierce competitor".
Boston limped their way to an AL East title on the last weekend of the regular season, but in the postseason they will need to turn it up. He advanced to running the bases and taking batting practice with the team earlier this week, indicating he was ready for the postseason roster. So it's a big game!
Chris Sale seems to have come up with a solution himself though. But I just remember I put too much pressure. "I would say that he always for some reason has been the toughest guy".
But this year was a mess, they said, leaving only this week open for travel to America.
The Red Sox and Astros game starts at 4:08 P.M. Eastern. Houston just has to overcome their recent failures in the post-season and they could end up in the ALCS. "Those are all great memories for those guys... The way he attacks every day, he's always trying to get better". If the ace lefty is able to mute the Astros' high-powered offense, it also will quiet the crowd. That's enough to minimize the advantage of Sale in Game 1, and Keuchel neutralizes a breakout season from Pomeranz.
"We've just got to go out there and try to win", Bogaerts said. We fought hard all year. They played good. They were rolling. "Anything can happen - this is baseball". And finally there is Price, who has emerged as a possible bullpen weapon for the Sox capable of being used situationally or of pitching multiple innings. The MLB baseball playoffs are back, baby!
He has made three starts against Cleveland this season, the first two as a member of the Athletics.