If there were any doubters out there still, the Houston Astros wanted to make sure they changed their mind yesterday. The Astros came out on fire in Game 1, as they brought home an easy 8-2 winner on Thursday. Houston got a strong performance from Justin Verlander, while Chris Sale and the Red Sox were roughed up by the Astro bats. Verlander brings a plethora of postseason experience to the equation for the ‘Stros.
Not only is he a talented pitcher, but that experience is going to help them out immensely. Out of all the trades made this season, the acquisition of JV from the Tigers may end up being the best deal. This postseason is so wide open, though, and it’s difficult to say which two teams will be in the World Series. I go back to the Indians in the American League, though.
The Indians did it again yesterday, winning another ball game, which was their first of the postseason to take a 1-0 series lead. Trevor Bauer was phenomenal, and now the Indians get to use Corey Kluber in Game 2. The Yankees may have partied for winning the Wild Card, but I think the celebrating is going to be short lived for them. The Indians look like a solid candidate to emerge out of the AL, but you take a look at the Astros and think well they can do it, too. Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel back-to-back seems like a lethal combo, but we’ll see how it unfolds in Game 2.
The Red Sox spent big bucks on Sale to get them another World Series. He’s been a good pitcher, don’t get me wrong, but there’s other guys out there who I trust more, Verlander being one of them. Keuchel has been hitting a stride lately, so we’ll see if he can keep it going, on the heels of a brilliant performance from Verlander. The Red Sox will counter with Drew Pomeranz. Head below our pick of Game 2 in the ALDS between the Red Sox and Astros.
Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros Pick
Drew Pomeranz (17-6, 3.32 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA)
The Red Sox need to steal a game somewhere in this series to win it. Getting a win from Pomeranz would constitute stealing a game, especially against a pitcher like Keuchel. Keuchel has been pitching well lately, as he heads into the postseason with an ERA of 2.00 in his last three starts. He gave up 4 earned in those starts. Particularly, Keuchel has excelled at home, posting an ERA of 2.26 and a 0.95 WHIP in 71.2 innings.
Keuchel has handled the Red Sox easily, as this current group of Red Sox batters have hit him for a batting average of .222. Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are the only to take him deep. Pomeranz enters with a 3.77 ERA in his last three, including a 1.40 WHIP. He has no postseason starts, but had two appearances out of the bullpen a year ago, posting an ERA of 4.91 in 2016. Keuchel pitched 14 innings in the 2015 postseason and yielded a 2.57 ERA. I don’t like taking favorites at this price, but I have to ride the hot hand and back Keuchel and the Astros here.
PICK: ASTROS (-170)