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The Houston Astros now hold home-field advantage in the

5 months 1 week ago #20416 by zhangzk
The Astros stole Game 1 on the road C.C. Sabathia Jersey , dominating the Boston Red Sox 7-2 behind Justin Verlander's six innings of two-run ball. George Springer was excellent, knocking in two runs and getting on base three times, while Carlos Correa's RBI single in the top of the sixth was the game-winning hit.The Astros added four insurance runs in the top of the ninth on Josh Reddick's solo home run and Yuli Gurriel's three-run shot.Unlike Verlander, Red Sox starter Chris Sale struggled, throwing 86 pitches in four innings while giving up two runs, four walks and a hit. It was a poor performance from Boston's ace, forcing manager Alex Cora鈥攚ho was later ejected in the bottom of the fifth for arguing balls and strikes鈥攖o turn to his bullpen early.It was the Astros bullpen that locked down the contest, however, pitching three scoreless innings to close Game 1.Chris Sale's Struggles Could Have Ripple Effect Throughout SeriesSale did not have his best stuff Saturday night, and it was apparent early:Bryan Hoch BryanHochChris Sale doesnt have it tonight. Closing in on 50 pitches in the second inning as the Astros jump out front, 2-0, as George Springer raps one past Eduardo Nunez at third base.Zachary quot;Doomquot; Rymer zachrymerYeah, Chris Sale doesnt have it tonight.Zachary quot;Doomquot; Rymer zachrymerIts not just the ball/strike disparity. Too many of Chris Sales pitches arent even close to being good.The fact that he got through four innings while only allowing two runs made it seem like the Red Sox dodged a bullet. But Boston had to turn to its bullpen for the next five innings in a game it likely expected its ace to go deep. That could be a concern for the rest of the series, especially if Boston's other starters struggle.The last thing the Red Sox want is a taxed bullpen while facing Houston's dangerous lineup.Sale's struggles mean David Price must come up big in Game 2 on Sunday night. That has not been Price's postseason calling card, however. In 18 appearances (10 starts) http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-giancarlo-stanton-jersey , Price is 2-9 with a 5.28 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 68 strikeouts across 75 innings.More concerning is the fact that Price only lasted 1.2 frames in his ALDS Game 2 loss against the New York Yankees, giving up three runs on three hits and two walks. And it's not as though the Red Sox can let him weather any storms, as opposing starterGerrit Cole is coming off an excellent season and is likely to make life difficult for the Red Sox bats.If Price struggles early, he'll almost assuredly be given a quick hook. And that would mean another long night for the bullpen.Should the Red Sox go down 2-0 in this series while facing a trip to Houston, they'd be in trouble. It wouldn't be fair to call the matchup over鈥攖he Red Sox won 108 games, after all, and boast baseball's scariest lineup. They could dig out of that hole.But it's not a hole they'd choose, especially considering the Astros seem to have Sale's number.Houston's beaten Sale three times in the past two postseasons, and the Boston ace hasn't gotten past the fifth inning in any of those starts, giving up a total of 11 runs in the three losses.Add it all up, and Sale's Game 1 effort does not bode well for the Red Sox. Houston's Bullpen Remains Its Biggest ALCS AdvantageHouston's starting rotation often gets most of the attention when the team's pitching is mentioned, and for good reason: The trio of Verlander, Cole andDallas Keuchel is superb. Verlander, in particular Andy Pettitte Jersey , has been historically good in the postseason.Stats By STATS StatsBySTATSThe astros Justin Verlander has now allowed a total of 9 hits over his last 4 postseason starts. That ties the fewest hits ever allowed over a span of 4 postseason starts; the other to do it was Don Larsen from 1955-57 - a stretch that included his perfect game. #NeverSettleBut Saturday night, Houston's bullpen was dominant, proving it remains the team's major advantage over Boston.During the regular season, Houston led baseball in bullpen ERA. In 12.2 innings of postseason ball, they've given up one run. The Red Sox managed just one hit against Ryan Pressly, Lance McCullers Jr. and Collin McHugh on Saturday night.Boston, meanwhile, was forced to cycle through five relievers over five innings, and that group gave up five runs, including the two ninth-inning dingers.Shea Serrano SheaSerranothe 9th inning of this astros game 3YlRj4KlWXThis series has been billed as the matchup of the unstoppable force (Boston's lineup) against the immovable object (Houston's pitching staff). But Boston has solid options in the starting rotation, even if Sale struggled on Saturday night, and the Astros have dangerous bats. The "unstoppable force vs. the immovable object" storyline is a bit reductive.Look more closely, and it's clear the bullpens could decide this series. In that regard, the Astros appear to have the advantage.Red Sox NeedMookie Betts to Get HotMookie Betts, the front-runner to win the AL MVP Gary Sanchez Jersey , only hit .188 against the New York Yankees in the ALDS. No matter. The rest of the Red Sox offense showed up, pushing 27 runs across the board in four games.But Betts had a limited impact once again Saturday night, managing just one hit without any runs scored or knocked in. And against Houston's superior pitching staff, the rest of the Red Sox weren't up to the task either, only posting three hits.In fact, Boston's two runs came off a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch by Verlander. It was an ugly night for the Red Sox at the plate.And it's been an ugly postseason for Betts, who hit .346 with 32 homers, 80 RBI, 129 runs and 30 stolen bases during the regular season. He was a major factor in every conceivable way for the Red Sox. He's been much less so in the postseason.For his career, Betts is hitting .239 with no homers, two RBI and six runs scored in 46 postseason at-bats over the past three years (12 games). His October struggles are a worry, especially given Boston's issues with solving Houston's pitchers Saturday night.The Astros' stars, meanwhile, mostly factored into the Game 1 result. In a series between teams this talented, the Red Sox have to get something from their best player. If Betts doesn't work his way out of this October slump http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-giancarlo-stanton-jersey , his team is in trouble. ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Marwin Gonzalez was at his best again, homering for the eighth time this month. Justin Verlander didn’t have his best stuff, but he did just enough.Gonzalez and Verlander proved to be a winning combination as they led the Houston Astros to an 8-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.Gonzalez hit a solo home run to left-center field off reliever Williams Jerez to lead off the four-run eighth inning. Gonzalez has 14 home runs this season, including eight in August. The Astros had been clinging to a one-run lead before he opened the eighth with that homer.“Marwin is a great player,” teammate Jose Altuve said. “He did it last year. He’s been doing it a long time. Sometimes, people get surprised by what he does. Not me, because I’ve seen him play this good.”The Astros (79-50) are in first place in the AL West and have won four consecutive games and five of their last six. They’re the best road team in baseball, improving to 17-5 in California. The Astros are 6-2 against the Angels this season. The Angels have lost five consecutive games.Verlander allowed three runs in six innings, but he was staked to an early 3-0 lead and the offense picked him up.“Awesome. Those guys backed me up today,” Verlander said. “Today was a battle for me physically. Didn’t feel great for whatever reason. One of those games you take pride in battling, knowing I didn’t have anywhere near my best stuff.”Altuve was hit in the elbow by a fastball from Justin Anderson in the seventh, but remained in the game. Ohtani was then hit in the backside by Roberto Osuna in the eighth and both benches were warned. Deck McGuire hit Yuli Gurriel in the leg in the ninth inning and was ejected. Angels manager Mike Scioscia was also ejected.“I would like to think the pitch was not on purpose. I’m not sure about that,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “We hit their guy. I’m sure it wasn’t on purpose. It’s part of baseball. It happens.”McGuire said there was no intent behind his pitch, either.“I was just trying to go in … to a guy who likes to dive over the plate and I missed down the middle Sonny Gray Jersey , and I’m just trying to make sure it didn’t happen again,” McGuire said. “It’s unfortunate in that situation that (bench) warnings had been issued because there was no intent on my part.”Verlander (13-8) had thrown 26 consecutive scoreless innings against the Angels this season before Shohei Ohtani homered against him in the fourth inning on the first pitch of the at-bat. It was Ohtani’s 14th home run of the season, eight shy of his career best in Japan in 2016.Verlander allowed six hits and struck out six and walked two. He was grooving until the fourth when Ohtani hit a two-run homer to center field. Andrelton Simmons hit a run-scoring triple off Verlander in the sixth.Ohtani was caught stealing for the first time this season. He was thrown out at third by catcher and friend Martin Maldonado, who was traded by the Angels in July. Maldonado was smiling plenty afterward.Jaime Barria (8-8) had a rough outing, lasting just three innings after he gave up four runs on five hits. It was his shortest outing since he threw just two innings in a loss against San Francisco on April 22.CHECK PLEASEOne day after showing off a million-dollar receipt for being a “Dodger killer” for his lunch from The Beverly Hills Hotel on Friday, Verlander revealed that his meal was comped. The hotel jokingly charged him an extra $1 million since Houston beat the Dodgers to win the World Series last year. The receipt went viral, for many things, including how expensive the items were, like the $30 pancakes, $42 chicken salad and $10 cranberry juice.“The manager came over and we ended up laughing about it,” Verlander said. “They actually ended up comping the meal. Everyone was talking about how expensive the pancakes were and the salad. It was comped. It worked out well for both sides.”TRAINER’S ROOMAstros: OF George Springer (quadriceps) is expected to get an at-bat Saturday or Sunday. A decision will be made by Monday whether he will go on the disabled list or not. He has missed five consecutive games. … INF Gonzalez (sore knee) is still in the lineup but experiencing some soreness.Angels: RHP/DH Ohtani (strained right elbow) threw a 21-pitch bullpen session on Saturday. He is scheduled to throw a simulated game next week. … LHP Tyler Skaggs (left adductor strain) played catch again Saturday. … C Rene Rivera (bee sting) was stung on his arm during Friday’s game when he threw a ball back to the mound. He stayed in the game.UP NEXTAstros: LHP Framber Valdez (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his first career start and second appearance. He threw 4 1/3 innings in relief in his Major League debut Tuesday, allowing one unearned run on two hits and struck out four.Angels: RHP Felix Pena (1-3, 4.53) struck out 12 in his last start but gave up four earned runs in six innings in the Angels’ 5-4 loss in Arizona on Tuesday.

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