The Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros get going in the ALCS on Friday night with Game 1 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. The game is set for first pitch at 8:07 p.m. ET. It took a while, but we now know who will be starting the series for each team. Let’s go over the rotations and matchups for the ALCS.
Game 1 starter: Framber Valdez
Game 2 starter: Luis Garcia
We always knew Valdez was going to end up starting this game with Lance McCullers Jr. sidelined for the series. If that’s the case, we should see Jose Urquidy in Game 3 and maybe even a bullpen game in Game 4 before we see Valdez again. It depends how the series is going really. Houston could pitch Valdez on short rest given he’s the team’s best starter at this point. Garcia didn’t pitch well in the ALDS vs. the Chicago White Sox. The Astros haven’t even had to use Urquidy yet in the playoffs, so he’ll be fresh.
Red Sox rotation
Game 1: Chris Sale
Game 2: Nathan Eovaldi
Same as the Astro, the Red Sox took a while to announce the obvious in Sale starting Game 1. The veteran lefty didn’t fare well in the ALDS vs. the Tampa Bay Rays, pitching 1.0 inning and allowing 5 ER in the process. So Sale will likely serve more as an opener than as a traditional starter like we’re used to.
It’ll be interesting to see if Eduardo Rodriguez or Nick Pivetta ends up starting Game 3. E-Rod has been the second guy in the rotation behind Eovaldi, but hasn’t pitched particularly well. He’s also a lefty going up against the Astros, who have plenty of power righties. Pivetta on the other hand, has appeared in two games these playoffs and has allowed just 3 ER over 8.2 IP. Chances are we could see Pivetta in Game 1 after Sale as a long reliever. Or even in a Game 3 after E-Rod if he struggles.