Red Sox vs. Astros ALDS Preview

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Altuve is the first player in Astros franchise history, and 10th in Major League Baseball history, to hit three home runs in a single postseason game. He's one of the few players remaining who languished through a rebuilding process that led to three straight 100-loss seasons from 2011-13, and is perhaps the main reason this team ran away with the AL West title this year. Altuve is just one incredible player, and after today's performance, how can he not be considered the leader for the MVP of the American League?

Sale collapsed in his first career postseason game following 180 regular-season starts, losing 8-2 to the Astros and Justin Verlander on Thursday in Game 1 of the ALDS. And he greeted rookie reliever Austin Maddox, a surprise addition to the Red Sox's playoff roster, in the seventh inning by launching a changeup into the Crawford Boxes in left field. "We have a pretty doggone good pitcher in Drew Pomeranz going after it. Turn the page". His slider was off, among other issues, and he was tagged for back-to-back home runs in the first inning.

So, how good is Altuve? "It's hard to describe in different ways".

I know it's not as sexy as the possible "another Red Sox lefty (after David Price) can't pitch in the postseason!" narrative, but Sale was facing the best offense in the majors.

Quite a comeback from his only previous postseason - in 2015, he batted just.154 (4 for 26) without an extra-base hit. Afterward, Sale offered no excuses for his outing.

"Anytime he mislocated, particularly in the middle of the plate, they made him pay for it".

A challenge by Red Sox manager John Farrell would confirm that Moreland was indeed safe. "He's a game-changer not only when he's on the mound but when he's outside talking to the pitchers and talking about the hitters they've got to face and how to approach them".

Alas, Nunez lasted just one pitch before - in all likelihood - his season came to an end.

That difference comes largely from the retirement of David Ortiz, who contributed 38 home runs previous year to cap off his career.

"We as fans need to watch out for ourselves, too".

Sale couldn't be more excited about this chance but he's not trying to put any added pressure on himself, " I don't want to put any more emphasis on this than their already is. "It gave me a new sense of hope".

"You're probably apt to make a couple more mistakes this time than earlier on in the season".

Hanley Ramirez replaced Nunez in the lineup.

"Two or three guys (are) interchangeable at the highest leveraged spots", Farrell said. "I don't think it's going to help calming my nerves or give me an edge in that way, but knowing what I'm going to deal with, going into the start, how I'm going to feel during the start, how much more emphasis and stress is put on every single pitch, knowing those things I think helps prepare me better". And if the Tribe are upended in the first round, the Yankees are another team no one really is begging to play. Eduardo Nunez acquired midseason by the Red Sox is versatile as he can play nearly anywhere in the infield, but he too has been nagged by a sprained right knee ligament.

Nunez injured his knee on a slide in September and missed two weeks, before returning for one game and re-aggravating the injury.



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