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McFarling: Boston's playoff roster will have plenty of ex-Salem pieces

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Credit The Associated Press        John Farrell  File

"Catch your breath, get your feet underneath you".

But that doesn't mean that the Red Sox should just be written off, like many "experts" may claim before the start of the American League Division Series on Thursday. If the Red Sox are going to win this series, there better be a hope that we can keep Altuve off the base paths or else he will cause some trouble.

Let's start with one statement: Astros manager A.J. Hinch has selected Justin Verlander to start Game 1 of the ALDS.

"Verlander has pitched extraordinarily well since he's got here", Hinch added. Pomeranz is having exactly the kind of season Sox fans want from him: A successful breakout year that firmly establishes him as a pitcher in the top half of a division-winning rotation.

They are good to go with No. 2 starter Drew Pomeranz, who went 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA. The former first-round pick isn't much of a hitter; his career OPS in 109 major league games is.568.

Pedroia has been dealing with a chronic knee injury all season, but fortunately for the Sox, he's expected healthy enough to play everyday in the playoffs. In 2013 they saw him in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, and he handcuffed them over eight innings. He threw six shutout innings against the Astros on Saturday before giving up a single that led to a run in the seventh inning. Porcello has a career 5.66 ERA in the playoffs, including his five-run effort in a loss to the Cleveland Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS a year ago. By doing so, they managed to avoid facing Verlander again in Game 7. While the team finished 101-61 in 2017 - one win behind their franchise record in 1998 - the group had very real struggles against lefty starters. He was dominant, and put the Tigers in a position to win the series. So it's less likely that you'll see the Sox run into outs against the Astros as often as they did against other teams. Verlander faced Boston twice in 2017 and gave up a total of three runs in two no-decisions while Keuchel didn't face them. Teams win in October with deep, versatile bullpens, and Price's emergence the past two weeks potentially gives the Red Sox someone who at least resembles Andrew Miller, a power left-hander for all situations. Obviously this is playoff baseball so it comes with a lot more attention but for me I'm going to go out and pitch the same game.

First of all, needing the ace to turn in one more regular season start would have been because the Red Sox' postseason existence was still in a state flux. The series seemed over before it started.

Although the Red Sox don't have the dominance that the Astros do. If not, it'll be a second straight quick exit from the postseason. Detroit won all five of those games.

12Sports Dave Hofferth is taking the Astros to nip the Red Sox in a full five game series.

Enter David Price. In the second year of his massive seven-year, $210 million deal with Boston, Price hit the disabled list with elbow issues in late July and moved to the bullpen upon his return earlier this month.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN.

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