Judged exclusively by the early innings of the boxscore from Saturday's opener of the best-of-seven ALCS, the game unfolded pretty much as billed.
Verlander issued his first bases-loaded walk since August 3, 2015, when he walked Mitch Moreland to make it 2-1. But it did, and now I've seen that happen, and if, thousands more baseball games down the road, I see it happen again, I'll be able to say, "yes, I actually have seen that one before". Unable to locate his slider and with his fastball averaging just 92 miles per hour, it's a miracle the lanky lefty got through a potent Astros lineup twice and allowed just the two runs on one hit.
But the Astros did just enough to take the win, downing the Red Sox, 7-2, at Fenway Park. Much like Price, though, he'll be tested by the opposition, as the Red Sox this season led the AL in OPS versus right-handed pitchers. Entering yesterday's ALCS opener against the Red Sox, the Astros' hot-hitting outfielder had hit safely in his last nine playoff games with the team, a streak that extended all the way back to Game 1 of the 2017 World Series. And a lengthy start would be welcome, as Boston had to burn through five relievers behind Sale (though, in one of the few positives of the night for the Red Sox, not closer Craig Kimbrel). Price hasn't pitched since allowing three runs in 1 2/3 innings in a Game 2 Division Series loss to the Yankees. "If you look at the numbers, knowing that they're going to put the ball in play, you kind of gotta make pitches where you think that the least amount of damage will be done". This came after the offense scored two runs to tie the game at two in the frame against Justin Verlander.
Price, though, said that as soon as the final out was recorded in Game 4 of Boston's series win over New York, Cora pulled him aside, told him he was not making any changes and that Price would be his Game 2 pitcher all the way.
When the Astros opened the scoring in the second with a pair of runs off Sale, the rally started with two outs and went like this: Walk, walk, hit by pitch, walk, single. "We've got D.P. on the mound and we got a bunch of guys in here that are fired up over tonight".
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Boston catcher Christian Vazquez hit second-base umpire Joe West on his right shoulder with a throw when Jake Marisnick stole second in the eighth.
"It's not that we're trying to hit him, but we have to let him know that we will pitch there because a year ago, going into the playoffs that's one thing I told that group". Price just doesn't win in the postseason. 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.
Cole was 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA in the regular season.