Altuve has won three batting titles and has accrued 200-plus hits in each of his last four seasons. You would think that gives Verlander a distinct advantage going against Sale in Game One of the Red Sox and Astros ALDS on Thursday afternoon in Houston (4:08 EST start time), but Verlander doesn't see it that way.
Altuve became the ninth player in major league history to hit a record three home runs in a playoff game, and the headlining act - a Justin Verlander-versus-Chris Sale matchup - played second fiddle to the littlest major leaguer in decades evermore coming up big. The first one he threw to Alex Bregman, the second hitter Sale faced, was promptly lined out of the ballpark. He hit a 96-mph fastball from Sale to almost the same spot in the fifth.
The series got off to a brutal start for Boston when Eduardo Nunez went down with a serious knee injury running to first base in the first inning and had to be carried off the field by Farrell and a team trainer.
"I couldn't believe any of my homers", Altuve said.
"I've always been a guy who hasn't had [next-day] soreness", Price said in September, according to Dave Sheinin of The Washington Post. I do know this: "he is chomping at the bit to be available in the postseason". "I don't think now would be the time to start doing that".
After that third homer, after the sellout crowd chanted "M-V-P!" If the series shifts to a fifth game, Houston could prevail at home. "Well, it's a great day to hit three". While he has shown glimpses of the pitcher he was a year ago, Porcello is a major gamble to put on the mound in a potentially series-deciding game, especially against a team as offensively savvy as the Astros.
And just to rub dirt in the Red Sox's eye, Altuve is the first player with a three-homer playoff game since Pablo Sandoval in the 2012 World Series.
Breaking down Game 1 of the ALDS between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Red Sox manager John Farrell has his work cut out for him this weekend both on and off the field. The Astros looked strong throughout the season, and arguably for periods were standing out as clearly the best team in the Major League Baseball, winning a massive 101 games this regular season. Still, I did, just to make sure I wasn't fighting a strawman here.
Astros 8, Red Sox 2: Astros take a 1-0 lead in the series.
"Nothing he does surprises me anymore", Houston outfielder Josh Reddick said. We don't often need more of an explanation than this.
Using Verlander and Keuchel are the obvious choices because they're our two best pitchers right now but the enormous depth that we have on the pitching front, we can could rotating guys out of the bullpen like insane.
The Sox found out last season exactly what a dominant bullpen can do in the postseason as Cleveland's Andrew Miller and Cody Allen completely owned the Boston lineup. "That's why he's an MVP".