Sandy Leon starting in Game 1 for Red Sox

Doug Mendoza
October 14, 2018

"My failures in Houston is what made me who I am", Martinez said Friday, a day before the Astros and Red Sox open the best-of-seven series. Houston only got one hit off of Sale, but he loaded the bases with two outs in the second on two walks and a hit batter before reigning World Series MVP George Springer singled in two runs past the glove of Eduardo Nunez, who slipped as he stretched for the ball. I know they play well on the road, but we'll be ready. Sale didn't have his best stuff on Saturday, and he was removed after allowing two runs on 86 pitches (50 for strikes) in only four innings against the defending champions. "Getting to spend a full season with him past year was pretty special".

"Our guys know we can win and we can beat you in a lot of different ways". The Red Sox were thumped 8-2 in that Game 1 and the Astros eventually won three of four.

Now he has to do it again - against his former boss, A.J. Hinch, whose Astros swept Cleveland in the ALDS. They split at home against the Yankees last weekend, swept a pair of games in NY to advance and open the AL Championship Series against the World Series champion Astros on Saturday night.

Overall, the Sox have responded to the first-year manager, who replaced John Farrell after he was sacked after last year's first-round elimination.

"I think he just feeds off the crowd and he just feels more comfortable at home", Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts said.

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It will be the second straight year the Red Sox and Astros meet in the postseason - last year it was the ALDS - and the second straight year that aces Chris Sale will go against Justin Verlander in the opener. It doesn't guarantee that you're going to have success, but when you're not shying away from the moment and doing everything you can to be prepared, I think that's the biggest thing.

Sale is 5-2 with a 1.83 ERA in seven career regular season starts against the Astros. Whatever the reason, he turned in one of his worst performances of the season, when the team needed him most.

Mitch Moreland (right hamstring) was among those who went through a full workout for the Red Sox on Friday.

"I think it's just better for the game", Sale said.

This one has the potential to be a classic pitcher's duel. Who folds first? The Sox led the majors in runs per game in 2018 at 5.41 per game while the Astros had the lowest ERA at 3.11. Cora insisted that he had faith in Price, and he told the 2012 AL Cy Young victor as much after the Red Sox eliminated the Yankees in the previous round. Verlander has allowed more than three earned runs in a start just once since 2011 - he was roughed up in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series for Detroit against San Francisco.

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