This time it counts.
The former Monarch makes his 17th MLB postseason start Thursday in the American League Division Series - but his first wearing a Houston Astros uniform. Sale's slider velocity crept up through September-usually at 79 miles per hour, he started averaging closer to 81 mph-and at the same time, hitters went from slugging.282 on it to.644.
The game: Faced with the unenviable task of scoring runs against Boston ace Chris Sale, the Astros quickly showed how hard it is for even an elite starter to shut down their league-best offense.
The only way the Red Sox view Young as an postseason option is to start Game 2 vs. Dallas Keuchel, who has been brutal against lefty hitters, holding them to a.145 batting average compared to.236 vs. righties.
After that Chris Sale broke down again. With Verlander facing off against Sale in Game 1. Houston's Verlander was the prize late-season acquisition, with the Astros completing the trade for Verlander right before the trade deadline at the end of August.
The Houston Astros are back in it - it's October and the team is playing extended baseball for the first time in almost two years. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI against the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game in 2015, then went 3-for-5 with three singles and an RBI in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Royals.
The Red Sox ALDS rotation has been somewhat set in place. The MLB Playoff Odds for the game have the Astros favored to pick up the win here. The Astros have an extremely limited amount of tickets available for the start of the team's playoff run. But after being traded to the Astros on August 31, he has a new appreciation for Altuve. Four of the extra-base hits came with two strikes, a career high and a stark contrast from the regular season, when he gave up more than one two-strike extra-base hit in only one start. It was just the second time in his eight-year career that the potential Cy Young Award victor had given up six extra-base hits.
"First off, how good is Jose Altuve?".
Wil Myers hit his 30th homer off Giants reliever Reyes Moronta in the sixth. Carlos Correa has been back, but has been slumping since his return. The 28-year-old opened the game with a six-pitch strikeout against Astros outfielder George Springer, but proceeded to give up back-to-back solo home runs on the two subsequent Houston at-bats.
So the Red Sox have a chance.
Add to that, he smacked Altuve 24 home runs and has one of the best gloves in the game, and you have the makings of one incredible ballplayer - who is definitely MVP material. Hanley Ramírez replaced him at DH.
Betts (26 of 29 on stolen base attempts), Benintendi (20 of 25) and Bogaerts (15 of 16) lead the Red Sox. "Just got to be better". A barricade sat around the park and no one could get inside unless they had a game ticket and go through a metal detector. But the pain Altuve inflicted on the Red Sox in the opener of the best-of-five series far outweighs the $42.2 million Boston owes free-agent bust Sandoval over the next two years. That's unlikely. But the offense should hit the ball an very bad lot, and it should definitely be a fun series for Astros fans to watch.