Red Sox optimistic Eduardo Nunez will be available for ALDS vs. Astros

Jon Gray's first inning in the Wild Card game nearly goes as poorly as Luis Severino's

Divisional series have been kind to Verlander. "Catch your breath, get your feet underneath you". A year ago the Boston Red Sox were defeated, 5-4, in Game 1 of the ALDS at Cleveland, a game started by Cy Young Award victor Rick Porcello. Overall, Mookie Betts leads the Red Sox with 166 hits and 102 RBI while Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi have combined for 311 hits and 152 RBI.

Boston opens its best-of-five ALDS at Houston on Thursday with a lot of familiar names to anyone who's hung around Haley Toyota Field for Salem Red Sox games the past few years.

"It means a lot", Verlander said in a press conference Wednesday. Such a streak would help to separate Boston from the haunting shadow of Big Papi's absence. He has pitched his best in the American League Division Series, as he is 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA in eight career starts.

Red Sox lefty Chris Sale makes his first postseason appearance when he starts against Astros righty Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the AL Division Series at Minute Maid Park. Dallas Keuchel gets the ball, and he is 14-5 with a 2.90 ERA and 125 strikeouts this season. "He's handled it beautifully and I would suspect at this stage, this next set of games in which he's going to experience for the first time will be handled the same way".

So, sit back and take a shot of that dirty water, because though the glass is half empty, these Sox may just quench your thirst for postseason success. Mike Napoli's solo home run in the seventh inning was the only damage the Sox could manage against him. By doing so, they managed to avoid facing Verlander again in Game 7.

The MLB playoffs are something of a crapshoot in the modern era as we've recently seen Wild Card teams like the 2014 Giants and 2011 Cardinals win it all.

Price could turn out to be the pitcher Farrell calls on in the most critical inning against Houston's top hitters. Of course, they'd need that to happen if they wanted to win a series. Instead of slotting him back into the rotation, they sent the 32-year-old southpaw to the bullpen in hopes that the new role and decreased workload would revitalize their fallen star. It's all about peaking at the right time, and the Red Sox look like they may have their best baseball ahead of them. Pomeranz only has postseason experience from a year ago, where he posted an ERA of almost 5 in two games against Cleveland. The Indians had to pitch Trevor Bauer in Game 1 with ace Corey Kluber slated for Game 2. Farrell says that will have to do more with how the first start goes than whether the team is facing elimination. If not, it'll be a second straight quick exit from the postseason. The scalding hot Indians passed everyone in the American League thanks to their record 22-game win streak, and that late run has put Houston in an extremely hard spot.

Sale has waited nine big league seasons to start a playoff game and had to be eyeballing this day from the moment Chicago traded him to the Red Sox.