Red Sox Pitching Struggles, Astros Take Game 1 7-2

Red Sox Pitching Struggles, Astros Take Game 1 7-2

Red Sox Pitching Struggles, Astros Take Game 1 7-2

For a matchup of the two best teams in baseball, ALCS Game 1 was an unexpectedly messy affair.

Game 3 is Tuesday in Houston. Here are three thoughts on a rough game. Charlie Morton was announced as the Game 4 starter. He was 6-7 with a 3.81 ERA in the regular season and allowed one run in five innings for the win against the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALDS - his first career postseason appearance. Sale battled George Springer for eight pitches before leaving a 93-mph fastball in the heart of the plate, which Springer banged under Eduardo Nuñez's glove at third for a two-run single. Leadoff man Betts crushed a ringing double, and then Andrew Benintendi drove him with a single. Worse, his stuff was fooling no one, drawing only one swing and miss through the first 11 batters of the game. By the time it made its way back into the vicinity of the infield, the Astros were already standing atop a two-run lead. "But obviously whenever you have to go to the hospital you've got to be 'worried'". Sale's third inning was scoreless, and he struck out two in a flawless fourth, seemingly regaining the feel on his slider.

"From what I know it's nothing serious, but obviously whenever you have to go to the hospital you have to be quote-unquote anxious", manager Alex Cora said.

The Sox managed to keep it close for much of the night, until Houston hit two home runs off Brandon Workman in the ninth inning to put the game out of reach.

Verlander's only trouble came in the fifth as he walked three straight following a single.

The ball skipped just under Eduardo Núñez's glove at third base and almost made it to the warning track in left field before Andrew Benintendi scooped it.

The AL Central champs tied it in the second on Springer's two-run double down the right-field line. Benintendi slammed his helmet and bat down and jawed with plate umpire James Hoye before Red Sox coaches ran in to get between them.

Things got stranger in the top of the sixth.

Tensions flared a bit in the sixth inning when Joe Kelly hit Alex Bregman with a pitch after Bregman stepped out of the box on the previous pitch.

J.D. Martinez is 0-for-7 to start the series and is just 5-for-33 with two homers against the Astros since he signed with the Red Sox. Ryan Brasier retired Yuli Gurriel with tying run on base to end a scoreless seventh, and Rick Porcello struck out two in a ideal eighth. Then he turned around a pitch from Cole that he typically doesn't handle.

Sale threw with diminished velocity and poor command in his Game 1 start on Saturday, but allowed just two runs in four innings in the Sox' eventual 7-2 loss to the Houston Astros. That erratic stretch of baseball ended up being both decisive and a microcosm for the night.

Boston set a franchise record for a postseason game by issuing 10 walks and also hit three batters in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.

Boston left-hander David Price remained winless as a starter in the postseason.

A head-to-head matchup of Price and Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole, both former No. 1 overall picks in the draft, ended with no clear victor.

After ALCS Game 1 loss, staff won't be fine-tuning pitches on the strike zone's edges. It's fun. I enjoy it. "So for him to tell me before we even took our jerseys off to put on our post-season shirts that we get when we win, that was special".

Aside from Houston's hitters, he may be the only one.

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