BOSTON — Justin Verlander and the World Series champion Houston Astros face Red Sox lefty Chris Sale tonight at Fenway Park in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
Verlander is 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA. He led the AL with 290 strikeouts and beat Cleveland in the ALDS last week. Sale is 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA. He started and relieved vs. the Yankees in the ALDS.
The All-Stars met twice last year in AL Division Series. They started opposite each other in the opener, then both worked in relief during the middle innings of Game 4. Also familiar with each other: Red Sox manager Alex Cora and the Astros. He was Houston’s bench coach last year during the team’s run to its first title.
Cora is again going with 11 pitchers. The Red Sox had been waiting to see how first baseman Mitch Moreland was feeling. He injured his hamstring in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Yankees, but the left-handed hitter has responded well enough to face the right-handed Verlander. The Sox will have the same roster as they did against the Yankees.
Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch has added pitchers Hector Rondon and Joe Smith and to the roster for the AL Championship Series against Boston. Outfielder Myles Straw and reliever Will Harris will not be active for the best-of-seven series that begins Saturday night at Fenway Park.
Hinch said Friday he wanted an extra pitcher so he went with those who matched up best against the Red Sox. Houston has 12 pitchers and 13 position players active.
First pitch is scheduled for 8:09 p.m. at Fenway.