Both the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros have shared what their starting rotation will look like for the first two games of the upcoming American League Championship Series. So what should we expect from Games 1 and 2?
Alex Cora revealed Thursday that Chris Sale will get the ball to begin the series Friday, then Nathan Eovaldi will take over for Game 2. As for the Astros, righthander Framber Valdez will pitch in Game 1 before another righty, Luis Garcia, goes in Game 2.
Sale didn’t pitch against the Astros in the regular season, seeing as he didn’t make his 2021 debut until Aug. 14 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. Of note, however, is that he did struggle through his two most recent starts.
Eovaldi, on the other hand, has been stellar in two postseason starts — unlike his one outing against Houston in 2021. On June 9, he lasted 5 2/3 innings in an 8-3 loss, allowing five runs on 11 hits.
Houston has a much better stat line against the Red Sox this season, which checks out considering the Astros hold a 5-2 advantage in the season series. Valdez was on the mound for two of those meetings, boasting an impressive line of 10 hits, two earned runs, two walks and 18 strikeouts through 14 1/3 innings.
Garcia is in his second year in the league, having spent both with the Astros. He blossomed into a regular starter in 2021, and his lone start against the Red Sox also resulted in a win for Houston. He lasted an impressive seven innings — tying his longest start of the season — allowing just one run on five hits.
We’ll see how things play out when the Red Sox take the field against the Astros for Game 1 on Friday at 8:07 p.m. ET.