Framber Valdez, who pitched 4.1 innings in Game 2 of the AL Division Series last Friday, will start things off on the mound for Houston’s Game 1 against the Boston Red Sox. Houston will then give the ball to Luis Garcia in Game 2.
At home against the White Sox in the ALDS, Valdez allowed seven hits and four earned runs but struck out six batters in a no-decision during Houston’s Game 2 win.
Garcia started ALDS Game 3 in Chicago, where he allowed five earned runs off of five hits in a quick 2.2 innings of work in the loss.
Valdez and Garcia, 27 and 24, respectively, were the breakout stars for the Astros during the 2020 postseason run, and both won their regular season starts against Boston.
The Red Sox are expected to counter with veterans Chris Sale in Game 1 and Nathan Eovaldi in Game 2. Sale hadn’t faced the Astros in 2021, while Eovaldi, who is an Alvin native, dropped his only start this season against his hometown team back on June 9.
Framber Valdez earned the right to start Game 1 vs Boston. Incredible presence on the mound and he showed a lot in the playoffs last year. Luis Garcia goes in Game 2. #ForTheH
— Greg Bailey (@GregBailey13) October 14, 2021
While the Astros seem set on the first two games of the series, they still have unanswered questions, specifically on McCullers and outfielder Jake Meyers.
McCullers is reportedly day-to-day with forearm stiffness that emerged during the ALDS clincher in Game 4, but MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that he may miss the entire series. If true, that would be a blow to Houston and its chances against Boston’s potent offense.
“There is great concern for McCullers in the short term, and he’s most likely out for the ALCS,” Heyman tweeted.
There is great concern for McCullers in the short term, and he’s most likely out for the ALCS
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 14, 2021
The team’s official standing on Thursday is still uncertainty. Astros general manager James Click remained unsure on McCullers, though, an MRI has been taken.
Meanwhile, Meyers is also day-to-day with a shoulder injury due to a collision with the outfield wall early in ALDS Game 4. In a positive sign, the rookie outfielder was on the field Thursday for workouts and taking throws.
ALCS Game 1 is set for 7:07 p.m. Friday at Minute Maid Park. The series stays in Houston for Game 2 on Saturday, which is set for 3:20 p.m.
The series then moves to Boston for Game 3 on Monday at 7:07 p.m. Game 4, also in Boston, is Tuesday. If necessary, Game 5 on Wednesday would remain at Fenway Park, while Games 6 and 7 would be back in Houston on Oct. 22 and 23.
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