We're one day away from what should be a thrilling American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros.
The best-of-seven series begins at 8:07 p.m ET Friday at Minute Maid Park. Astros manager Dusty Baker announced right-hander Framber Valdez will be his starter for Game 1.
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Red Sox skipper Alex Cora revealed Thursday who will take the mound for Boston.
"It's Chris Sale," Cora said. "At one point, he has to pitch in this series. We're very comfortable with him going tomorrow."
The news comes as a surprise given how Sale's last outing went. In Game 2 of the Division Series vs. the Tampa Bay Rays, the veteran southpaw allowed five runs -- four of them on a grand slam -- in the first inning.
Asked about Cora's choice to start him, Sale said, "It says a lot about him and his trust in me. I appreciate that, I don't take that lightly."
Nathan Eovaldi will start Game 2 for the Red Sox while rookie Luis Garcia takes the hill for the Astros. Eovaldi was Boston's most reliable starter throughout the 2021 season, and that has carried over to the playoffs. The right-hander led the Red Sox to victory with a brilliant Wild Card game performance vs. the New York Yankees and followed it up with a solid outing vs. Tampa Bay in the ALDS.
Houston's pitching staff took a big hit with Lance McCullers Jr. expected to miss the series with forearm tightness. The right-hander exited Game 4 of the ALDS after four innings due to the injury.
Check out the full schedule for the Red Sox-Astros ALCS here.