Astros' Verlander aims to remain hot vs. Red Sox

Start times revealed for first two games of Red Sox-Astros ALDS

Chris Sale wants the ball in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, which he will start on Thursday in Houston.

There has not been an occasion this century in which the Red Sox entered the postseason as, at the very least, prohibitive favorites in the stubbornly biased minds of New Englanders.

"Three days' rest, I'm in", he said. We know the work we've got to get done and I think we're up to the task.

This five-game series could all be determined by what happens in Game 1, and what a Game 1 it should be: Justin Verlander against Chris Sale. But he's trying to control his emotions about the opportunity. "Just try to treat this just like another game". "Catch your breath, get your feet underneath you".

When Price returned from his latest malady in mid-September, the Red Sox made a decision to try something different.

Rocker Tom Petty hospitalised
He sank into heroin addiction in the '90s, though we only know the details of that from a more recent biography by Warren Zanes. The maroon blazer she brought with her to sit at her father's bedside had black lapels and skull-and-crossbones patches.

In Verlander, the Astros acquired a pitcher with postseason experience, while the D-backs could challenge the Dodgers if they meet in the playoffs.

Sale will be pitching in the playoffs for the first time.

Barnes led Boston with 70 appearances this season, going 7-3 with a 3.88 ERA and fanning 83 batters in 69 2/3 innings. "I don't think now would be the time to start doing that". Because like I told our team after we won (the AL West), this might be the best team we are ever on. It's all about peaking at the right time, and the Red Sox look like they may have their best baseball ahead of them. Sale has never pitched in the postseason and was inconsistent after the All-Star break, but he's the kind of player you should feel confident in to elevate his game on a bigger stage. I think Betts was probably the toughest out a year ago, and he's the toughest guy to strike out, one of the toughest in the big leagues. But now I couldn't be more excited to join the Astros and am looking forward to getting started right away. Porcello has a career 5.66 ERA in the playoffs, including his five-run effort in a loss to the Cleveland Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS past year.

"Verlander has pitched extraordinarily well since he's got here", Hinch added. Keuchel at Minute Maid has been a solid choice so I like him to shine here... Assuming manager John Farrell decides to use a three-man starting rotation, this would put Sale on the mound in Boston. He went 17-9 with a 2.90 ERA in 32 starts during his first regular season with Boston. And if the Tribe are upended in the first round, the Yankees are another team no one really is begging to play. He noted the seamless way he transitioned from the White Sox after a December trade as evidence that he's fully capable of handling big situations well. He'll be bolstering an opponent BA of.205 and an OPS of.535, going up against Houston in the first postseason start of his career.

The trade gives the American League West leaders a powerful 1-2-3 punch at the top of their rotation with 2015 Cy Young Award victor Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers pairing with Verlander, who won the AL Cy Young and MVP awards in 2011. Neither team has announced their rotation past that. It's also possible Sale could come back on three days' rest for Game 4.

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