Game: Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox
Time: 5:08 PM ET
Starting Pitchers: Framber Valdez vs. Chris Sale
Odds: Astros +112, Red Sox -119
The Houston Astros rebounded with a big 9-2 win over the Red Sox in Boston to even the ALCS at two games apiece. The series resumes with Game 5 in Fenway Park in Boston where the Red Sox will start left-hander Chris Sale. It will be his second appearance of the series. Sale started Game 1 and had a rough go of it. He allowed five hits and one earned run and lasted just 2.2 innings before being pulled.
In fact, Sale hasn’t been all that effective this postseason. He pitched Game 2 of the ALDS against Tampa Bay. He didn’t even make it to the second inning in that one. Sale gave up four hits and five earned runs before going to the bench. The Red Sox ace returned late in the 2021 season after recovering from Tommy John surgery. He pitched very well initially and his numbers are still respectable – 7-2 record with a 3.16 ERA – but Sale has been roughed up more recently.
Sale will go up against Houston’s Framber Valdez who pitched Game 1 for the Astros. He also didn’t do well that start allowing six hits and two earned runs in 2.2 innings of work. Like Sale, Valdez had a rough start in the ALDS against the Chicago White Sox. He gave up seven hits and four earned runs in 4.1 innings. Also like Sale, Valdez missed some of the regular season and then enjoyed a solid campaign. Valdez started 22 games and went 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA.
What will greatly support Valdez is an Astros lineup that starts hitting the ball better. In Game 4, former AL MVP Jose Altuve got his first hit since Game 1. It was a solo home run that tied the game at 2-2. Houston then scored seven runs in the ninth inning to get the 9-2 win. Valdez needs Altuve and the rest of the Astros to come through in Game 5.
Houston would also benefit from another strong performance from the bullpen. In Game 4, the Astros relievers played a huge role in the win. Starting pitcher Zack Greinke lasted only 1.1 innings. Five different Astros pitchers combined to give up just four hits, no runs, and they struck out 10 batters.
Fenway Park is one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the majors. It is even more hitter-friendly during night games and with two pitchers that have underperformed as of late, Game 5 could be another high-scoring affair. All four of the games so far in this series have seen the total go Over. Tonight’s total is set at 9.5 reflecting the capabilities of both lineups plus the fact that both pitchers have had difficulty in the postseason.
Houston really did well against left-handed pitching this season. They finished fourth in OPS, fifth in ISO, and had the best strikeout percentage of any team in the league. Boston finished at or near the top in most offensive statistical categories too, and it has shown during this series. In four games so far, there have been 49 runs scored, an average of 12.2 per game.