Red Sox vs. Astros score

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Next up for the first-year Red Sox manager: The team he left after winning a World Series as a bench coach last season. After playing part time the next two years - hitting 18 homers with 91 RBIs in 199 games - he was 26 years old and batting.167 in the spring of 2014 when the Astros released him, preferring to give the at-bats to top prospect George Springer.

In an encouraging sign, the other usual late-inning relievers from the regular season, like Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Heath Hembree and Joe Kelly, combined for 9 2/3 innings with no earned runs and just two hits allowed. The Red Sox upgraded a lineup that was overmatched on this stage past year by adding MVP candidate J.D. "But our guys were able to juggle that and Alex [Cora] did a good job handling the 'pen to get us ready to use the guys and [Heath] Hembree stepped in and pitched well for us".

After beating the 100-win Yankees, the Red Sox face the 103-victory Astros.

Now he has to do it again - against his former boss, A.J. Hinch, whose Astros swept Cleveland in the ALDS. "We have a good club - you wouldn't win 108 games without one - but we also know that postseason success really, finally, defines how great a club you have".

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"This is a rematch of previous year", Sale said.

"I think he just feeds off the crowd and he just feels more comfortable at home", Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. "Letting it get better day by day".

The obvious choice to get the ball for Saturday's Game 1, Verlander thrived on the opportunity and the challenge for the first World Series title of his long career. The next night, Verlander didn't get a decision against Boston, going six innings and yielding two runs on three hits in a solid start.

Verlander was Martinez's teammate in Detroit and said he was "there from the moment he turned his career around". The Astros outscored the Indians 21-5 in the series.

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The Chicago Cubs have fired hitting coach Chili Davis after one season, according to several media reports, after the team's offensive production faltered in the second half of the season. The ace vs. ace matchup has made the over-under for Game 1 just seven runs.

"There's a lot of hardware down there", Cora said, nodding to the Red Sox clubhouse.

Before he morphed into one of the best postseason pitchers of this generation, Justin Verlander actually looked more like David Price.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman's assessment of his team's flameout to the Red Sox in the ALDS? Who folds first? The Sox led the majors in runs per game in 2018 at 5.41 per game while the Astros had the lowest ERA at 3.11.

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The Yanks, meanwhile, allowed seven inherited runners to score, five of them in that Game 3 slopfest.