Boston visits Houston for the opener of the best-of-seven American League Championship Series Friday.
Here are the odds, presented by our partners at DraftKings Sportsbook:
After beating their bitter rival the Yankees to open up the 2021 postseason, Boston unseated top-seeded Tampa Bay 3 games to 1. Boston's bats have been scorching hot, scoring 26 runs to post three consecutive victories to close out last round. Collectively Boston is hitting for a combined.328 average during the postseason and they have hit 11 home runs. Kike Hernandez has been Boston's top bat, hitting a scorching .438 with five extra-base hits in as many games.
Boston will throw out prized starter Chris Sale in Game 1. Sale (5-1 3.16 ERA) got shelled his last postseason start against Tampa where he gave up five runs on four hits and a walk in just an inning of work. Despite Sale’s poor start, the Sox won game two 14-6. Sale has not returned to his dominant form since coming back from Tommy John surgery. Regardless he has still had a pretty good year with a 1.34 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9 and 11.0 K/9 through 42 2/3 innings pitched in nine starts. Boston will need Sale to bounce back and provide quality innings to get a road win in Houston.
On the other side, Houston took care of business against Tony LaRussa's Chicago club 3-1, and did it in convincing fashion.Houston has also been on an offensive tear this postseason scoring 10, 12, 9, and six runs in their first four post season games. They have a .358 average against left-handed pitching this postseason and hit .270 on the year, thanks to a gauntlet of lefty killers including Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Yuri Gurriel. In addition, Yordan Alvarez has more home runs against lefties than any other left-handed batter not named Shohei Ohtani. Houston is going to make Chris Sale work for everything Friday night.
On the mound, Houston will throw young left-handed phenom Framber Valdez. Valdez had a pretty modest regular season (11-6, 3.14 ERA with 1.25 WHIP and 8.4 k/9 in 22 regular season starts. Like Sale, Valdez had a rough first postseason outing giving up 4 runs and 7 hits through 4 1/3 in his Game 2 start against Chicago.
Despite this, Houston was able to overcome to win 9-4. We will see if he can rebound against the Sox.
The pick: Over 8.5
These offenses are both scorching hot and hit left-handed pitching well. I can’t really give an edge to either team. The over is 3-1 in Sale’s last four starts and 5-1 in Valdez’s last six starts. So we till take the over and watch both lineups put on show.
The Over is 46-36-1 at Minute Maid Park this season, including 2-0 in the ALDS.
The Over is 6-4 in Sale’s 10 starts this year, including 3-1 in his last four outings.
The Over is 13-10 in Valdez’s 23 starts but includes 5-1 in his last six starts and 6-2 in his last eight starts
Make sure to follow Austin on Twitter @AMontgomeryLive
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