The pressure has risen for both teams in the 2021 American League Championship Series after the Astros had a late-game offensive explosion to tie things up at 2 games each. It was a much needed victory that seemed to ease some of the tension Houston had been displaying since Boston laid an 8-spot on them in the first two innings of Game 2.
Now both teams will have a chance to take a stranglehold on the series and return to Houston up 3-2. Of course the Astros would love to be in such a position, and it would be especially advantageous to have two cracks at the pennant at home with the rotation leaking oil all over the mound this entire series.
So one can expect this to be a mostly all-hands-on-deck game for both teams, especially with the off day tomorrow. I say mostly because I’m fairly confident that Eovaldi won’t have his spikes on tonight as he awaits his now-guaranteed Game 6 start.
Update: Lineups Posted
Astros Game 5 lineup vs. Sale— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) October 20, 2021
Framber Valdez, LHP
Regular Season: 11-6, 3.14 ERA, 125 K’s
Postseason: 0-0, 7.71 ERA, 8 K’s
Framber has struggled with command this postseason, though he did manage to muddle through the first few innings without letting Game 1 get too far away from him. On top of that, at least some of Boston’s offense came from an error on Altuve’s part in that game. Framber is actually in familiar territory in this game, having started Game 6 of the 2020 ALCS and fending off the Rays with 6 innings of clutch baseball. He’ll need to channel more of that this postseason if the Astros want to advance to the World Series.
Chris Sale, LHP
Regular Season: 5-1, 3.16 ERA, 52 K’s
Postseason: 0-0, 14.73 ERA, 4 K’s
A lot of what happens for Boston in the rest of the ALCS is going to pivot on what kind of performance they get out of Chris Sale tonight. Sale has been shaky ever since his last start of the regular season, but he managed to weave through traffic in his 2.2 innings of work during Game 1, only allowing 1 run on the 6 baserunners he let get on base. Still, the performance wasn’t as sharp as we’re used to seeing from Sale, and that might just give the Astros a chance to ambush him and let the air out of Fenway early.
How to Watch
Wednesday, October 20th @ 4:08 pm CT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, ESPN Radio, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010 / Red Sox - WEEI 93.7, ESPN Radio, WCCM 1490 AM/103.7 FM, WAMG 94.9/890 AM
Watch: FS1, FS1-INT
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Moneyline Odds for ALCS Game 5: Astros +110, Red Sox -130