Game Preview - Astros v Red Sox
|11:38 AM PT12:38 PM MT1:38 PM CT2:38 PM ET14:38 ET18:38 GMT2:38 11:38 AM MST1:38 PM EST2:08 PM VEN22:38 UAE1:38 PM CT, October 8, 2017
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts Attendance: 38,010
Astros, Peacock can close out ALDS vs. Red Sox
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BOSTON -- It was just 10 days ago that Houston Astros pitcher Brad Peacock went to the Fenway Park mound and defeated Boston in the opening game of the regular season-ending four-game series against the Red Sox.
Sunday, Peacock goes to that same mound with a chance to pitch his team into the American League Championship Series.
"It hasn't gotten us anywhere yet other than in a good position moving into Game 3," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said after his team's second straight 8-2 rout of the Red Sox in Houston Friday. "We won't take anything for granted.
"This is a team that's very, very laser-focused on winning the series. You don't win the series with two wins -- you win it with three."
The Astros won three of the four games at Fenway last weekend, in a series that really didn't determine much. Things are different now. The stakes are higher, and so far it's been the Astros stealing the AL Division Series show.
They beat up Chris Sale in Game 1. They roughed up Drew Pomeranz in Game 2, the two Red Sox 17-game winners totaling almost as many homers allowed (five) as innings pitched (seven).
Coming into this series, Doug Fister was the only pitcher on the Red Sox with a postseason victory. That's still the case as he enters Game 3 with a 4-1 career record and 1.78 ERA in eight postseason starts. Boston is 7-1 in those eight games and the ERA the lowest ever by a postseason starter (since the start of championship series in 1969) with at least 50 innings.
Fister lost to the Astros during that final weekend, but didn't get blasted, allowing three runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"It's tough to be down, period," Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "We haven't played well yet, so we have to get back home and figure it out."
The Red Sox have hit .227 with four extra-base hits, all doubles, in the first two games. Mookie Betts, who had a key error in right field in Game 2, is 3-for-8 (with two of the doubles), but leadoff hitter Xander Bogaerts is 0-for-9 and Andrew Benintendi 1-for-8.
The Astros, on the other hand, are 24-for-70 (.343) with 11 extra base hits, six of them home runs.
"These guys are all coming out swinging, and swinging at a lot of stuff, being very aggressive, and every time we've made a mistake, they've made us pay for it," Pomeranz said after Game 2.
The Red Sox have lost five straight postseason games over two seasons and their starting pitchers -- Sale, Pomeranz, Rick Porcello, David Price and Clay Buchholz -- have worked a combined 18 2/3 innings, allowed nine homers and ran up an 11.09 ERA.
There have 56 teams down 0-2 in an LDS, and seven of them have won their series. But two of those comebacks -- in 1999 and 2003 -- have been turned in by the Red Sox, who also came back from 0-3 to win the 2004 ALCS against the New York Yankees.
Boston manager John Farrell said Saturday Sale will be available out of the bullpen Sunday. The other news out of the Boston side was Betts, who is dealing with a troublesome left wrist and left Game 2 in the ninth inning, will play. Betts promised after that game he would be good to go.
Peacock is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA lifetime against the Red Sox, allowing four home runs in just 13 innings. He is 1-1 with an 8.53 ERA -- three homers in 12 2/3 innings -- at Fenway.
Fister is 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA in three starts against Houston.
The Astros have some numbers against Fister. Alex Bregman went 3-for-3 with a home run against him last weekend, while Jose Altuve is 3-for-7 (.429) and Carlos Beltran 5-for-13 (.385) with a homer. Marwin Gonzalez is 0-for-7.
The current Astros are hitting a collective .313 against Fister.
Beltran, who didn't start against the two left-handers, will be the DH for Houston Sunday.
Against Peacock, Pedroia is 3-for-8 (.375) but Mitch Moreland is 2-for-13 (.154) with a home run. The current Red Sox players are hitting .218 with two homers and three RBIs in 55 at-bats.
Charlie Morton, who beat Fister at Fenway last weekend, is Houston's "if necessary" Game 4 starter, while the Red Sox haven't named a starter if that game is played Monday.
Updated October 7, 2017