Sonny Gray will start the opener for NY.
It's the postseason debut for Red Sox starter Chris Sale, and thanks to Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, it did not go well. And finally there is Price, who has emerged as a possible bullpen weapon for the Sox capable of being used situationally or of pitching multiple innings. He's the first player ever to lead the AL or NL in hits for four consecutive seasons. They got their answer early, and it wasn't pleasant. There were some rough patches that the team had to go through but they were able to masterfully navigate to still eventually win 101 games on the season. Since July 27, Bauer has appeared in 13 games (12 starts).
Closer Ken Giles (2.30 ERA), and fellow right-handers Chris Devenski (2.68) and Joe Musgrove (1.44) are dependable. In 78 innings, he has struck out 85 and walked just 19. Both teams have pitched well throughout the season, and both should be high on confidence coming into this game.
Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA) labored to recover from midseason neck discomfort but found his stride down the stretch of the season, going 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA during his final three starts. Could this be the year Boston hoists another World Series trophy?
"It's a five-game series", Willis said. Houston has a pair of aces after picking up Verlander on August 31 to go with Keuchel. He is 7-5 with a 3.39 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 16 career postseason starts, but hasn't been there since 2014. The Sox were fourth in Major League Baseball in team ERA at 3.70.
At one point, the right-handed pitcher was one of the better and more consistent pitchers in the Majors. His last outing against Houston, five innings of three-run ball, may have sealed the deal. He made two starts in the American #League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers. In the past three years he's 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA against Boston. The left-hander became first pitcher in AL to reach 300 strikeouts since Pedro Martinez 1999.
"It's a bad time to suck", the 28-year-old starter told reporters (via USA Today Sports). He believes there is an advantage to having playoff experience, but no matter how many times he's done it, he still deals with jitters when he takes the mound in a game that means so much. He spent his first seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox who did not advance to the playoffs in any of those years.
Bauer, who was a surprise choice by Indians manager Terry Francona to start Game 1 ahead of ace Corey Kluber, threw 98 pitches, striking out eight with one walk. Plus, Keuchel was one of the bright spots in the Houston Astros 2015 postseason, pitching a shutout in the Wild Card game against the New York Yankees. He failed to record a 1-2-3 inning, and partially as a result of his climbing pitch count and partially a result of his utter ineffectiveness, he was pulled with two on and nobody out in the bottom of the sixth inning. He allowed nine or more hits just once. Instead of waiting for the victor of the wild-card game and watching as either the Twins or Yankees advanced by burning one of their top pitchers, the Astros instead have to duke it out in five games with the Red Sox.