Red Sox try to even ALCS against Astros

Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price walks to the dugout after three runs score in the 2nd inning against the New York Yankees on September 19 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price walks to the dugout after three runs score in the 2nd inning against the New York Yankees on September 19 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

BOSTON -- Justin Verlander was asked Friday about former teammate David Price's inability to win a game as a starter in the postseason.

"Great teammate. Really enjoyed my time with David," Verlander said of when they were together in Detroit. "Him and I still talk all the time, stay in touch. And, yeah, I do find that odd (he's winless as a starter in postseason).


"Honestly, I hope the trend continues for the short term now."

If it continues Sunday, the Astros, 7-2 winners in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night, would take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven heading home for three games.

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"The trend" is historic.

Price, who faces Gerrit Cole in the second game of the ALCS on Sunday night, is 0-9 with a 6.03 ERA in 10 postseason starts. This past week against the New York Yankees, he became the first pitcher in MLB history with at least 10 postseason starts and zero victories. His teams are 0-10 in those 10 games and the ERA is the third worst among pitchers with 10 starts.


He got the ultimate vote of confidence when manager Alex Cora, with folks screaming the left-hander should go to the bullpen - where he has had success -- tabbed him to start in Game 2.

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"It's good. I did expect to make more starts for us in this year's playoffs," Price said before Game 1. "But Alex told me before we even got off the field that night.

"So for him to tell me before we even took our jerseys off to put on our postseason shirts that we get when we win, that was special."

The Astros, who posted their 59th road win of the season behind Verlander (2-0 in this postseason), now turn to Cole, who hasn't lost in nine starts (6-0) since Aug. 10. He beat the Cleveland Indians in Game 2 of the ALDS, going seven innings and yielding three hits and one run.

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Houston got six innings out of Verlander and put the game away on ninth-inning home runs by Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel.

"This team finds a way in big moments to show up," said Verlander, whose team is 4-0 in the postseason by a combined score of 28-8.


Houston's George Springer, who had a two-run single in the first inning and has tied Lance Berkman's club record with a 10-game postseason hitting streak: "This is a clubhouse that believes in every guy. Doesn't matter who gets the job done. Pass the torch on to the next guy."

Red Sox pitchers walked 10 -- a franchise record for a nine-inning postseason game -- and hit three in their second loss, both at home, of this postseason. Chris Sale didn't have his command and was gone after four innings despite allowing just one hit and two runs.

An Eduardo Nunez error led to an unearned run and a loss for reliever Joe Kelly.

Cora, who was ejected from Game 1 for arguing a strike 3 call on Andrew Benintendi, reaffirmed Price as his Game 2 starter after the game -- with a simple "Yes."

Price, who lost Game 2 to the Yankees, lasting just 1 2/3 innings, is 6-2 with a 2.69 ERA in 14 games (10 starts) lifetime against the Astros, including strong relief work in last year's LDS.


Cole, who went 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA in the regular season, is 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA lifetime in four starts against the Red Sox -- 0-1 with a 5.73 in two starts at Fenway Park.

Alex Bregman is 3-for-7 (.429) with a home run, backup catcher Brian McCann 11-for-32 (.344) with three homers and Jose Altuve 8-for-25 (.320) against Price. But Reddick is 0-for-11, Jake Marisnick 1-for-12 (.083), Carlos Correa 2-for-10 (.200) and Springer 5-for-24 (.208) with a homer.

Mookie Betts, who is just 4-for-20 this postseason, is 5-for-8 (.625) and J.D. Martinez 3-for-10 (.300) with a homer against Cole. But Ian Kinsler is 2-for-25 (.080), Xander Bogaerts and Mitch Moreland are both 1-for-11 (.091), and Jackie Bradley Jr. 2-for-9 (.222) against the right-hander.

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