The Red Sox clinched their second consecutive AL East title on Saturday at Fenway, toppling Houston, 6-3. The Sox are now off for three straight days before opening up a best-of-five ALDS against those same Astros on Thursday.
Based on the regular season, the Sox and Astros seem like equally matched squads. Discounting Sunday’s rather meaningless regular season finale between the two, they went 3-3 against one another this year. The Sox took two of three from the Astros in Houston in June while the Astros took the first two games of this most recent four-game set at Fenway.
There was a sense of alarm among Boston fans on Thursday night when the Astros blasted them, 12-2, as well as Friday when the Sox threw their best bullpen pitchers at Houston but to no avail in a 3-2 loss.
But Saturday the Sox finally clinched the division, led by Drew Pomeranz, who worked six innings against Houston and allowed just one run on three hits.
Pomeranz will likely start the second game of the ALDS against the Astros, Friday in Houston. Game 1 of the series is Thursday in Houston, with Chris Sale (17-8, 2.90) set to start for Boston. It will be the first postseason start of Sale’s MLB career.
Here is a look at the tentative schedule (start time is based on last year's TV schedule and current time slots at MLB.com):
Game 1: Thursday, Oct. 5 Red Sox at Astros (4:08 p.m., FOX Sports 1)
Game 2: Friday, Oct. 6: Red Sox at Astros (2:05 p.m., FOX Sports 1)
Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 8: Astros at Red Sox (1 p.m., FOX Sports 1)
Game 4: Monday, Oct. 9 Astros at Red Sox (8 p.m., FOX Sports 1)
Game 5: Wednesday, Oct. 11 Red Sox at Astros (8 p.m., FOX Sports 1)