Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
The Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros benefited from home-field advantage and strong starting pitching to take the first games of their respective American League Division Series.
Boston fended off a late challenge from the New York Yankees after jumping out to a five-run lead in the first three innings.
Houston hit a quartet of home runs, chased Corey Kluber before the end of the fifth inning and its bullpen threw 3.2 scoreless innings.
David Price and Gerrit Cole will be tasked with securing 2-0 leads for their respective sides in an attempt to match the advantages held by the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League.
Saturday ALDS Schedule
Game 2: Cleveland +135 (bet $100 to win $135) at Houston -145 (bet $145 to win $100): 4:37 p.m. ET, TBS
Game 2: New York Yankees +110 at Boston -120: 8:15 p.m. ET, TBS
Odds via OddsShark.
Indians Need More Production Out of Lineup
In their 7-2 to loss to the Houston Astros, the Cleveland Indians recorded three hits, two of which came from the top two hitters in the order.
In order to leave Minute Maid Park with a victory, the Indians must receive more production out of their entire order.
Jose Ramirez, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson combined to go 0-for-11 at the plate and left six runners on base.
In contrast, the heart of the Houston order went 4-for-9, drove in two runs and only left three runners on base.
Stringing together hits won’t be an easy task against Cole, who was 8-2 in 96.1 innings at home in the regular season.
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Cole is coming off a strong September in which he conceded three runs or fewer in each of his past five starts.
Cleveland wasn’t the most explosive offense during the stretch run of the regular season, as it only put double digits on the board twice after September 16.
The key for the Indians lies at the top of the order, as Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley must get on base in their first or second at-bat.
If that occurs, the power hitters in the Cleveland order should be able to take a few runs off Cole and provide Carlos Carrasco with the necessary run support to get into a rhythm on the mound.
However, that strategy will be harder to implement on the diamond as Cole turns in a similar performance to Justin Verlander’s from Friday.
Prediction: Houston 6, Cleveland 3
Red Sox Relying On Price to Open Up 2-0 Lead
After holding on to win Game 1 by way of a gritty bullpen effort, the Boston Red Sox turn to Price to open up a two-game series lead over the New York Yankees.
Price has usually been used as a starter in the postseason, but he’s also thrown in a variety of relief roles, including two appearances out of the bullpen in the ALDS against the Astros in 2017.
Although he won two of his past three regular-season starts, Price wasn’t perfect against the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles to close the campaign.
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In his September 19 loss to the Yankees, Price gave up six runs on five hits, and the Boston bullpen went on to concede four more runs.
Three of the scoring plays in Price’s most recent meeting with the Yankees were home runs. Two of those came off Luke Voit’s bat, while Miguel Andujar produced the other.
Voit and Aaron Judge were the only two Yankees to record multiple hits in Game 1, and Judge hit a ninth-inning home run off Craig Kimbrel.
If Voit and Judge thrive at the plate, it will put more pressure on a Boston lineup that received seven of its eight Game 1 hits from hitters No. 1 through No. 5.
The Yankees might have to outhit the Red Sox in Game 2 if they are to achieve success against Price since Alex Cora’s team scored at least four runs against Masahiro Tanaka in three of the four regular-season meetings with New York’s Game 2 starter.
Prediction: Boston 7, New York 4
Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference and MLB.com. Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.