HOUSTON -- After the Red Sox earned a home split with a crucial 7-5 win over the Astros in Game 2 on Sunday night at Fenway Park, the stage is set for the type of classic American League Championship Series many expected from the teams that finished the regular season with the top two records in the Major Leagues.
"At this point, we might as well just treat it as a five-game set, and we're starting on the road," said Boston righty Rick Porcello. "We've got to do what we did in New York and come ready to play Game 1 and go from there."
Meanwhile, when the series continues today at Minute Maid Park, the defending World Series-champion Astros will try to get rolling again after the Sox handed them their first loss of the postseason.
:: ALCS schedule and results ::
Red Sox:Mookie Betts (two doubles, two runs) got going in Game 2, and that's always a big thing. As Betts goes, so go the Red Sox. If J.D. Martinez (0-for-7 in the series) can get going in Houston, the Astros will truly feel the brunt of Boston's high-powered attack. Eduardo Nunez will be back in the lineup with lefty Dallas Keuchel pitching for Houston.
1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. J.D. Martinez, DH
4. Xander Bogaerts, SS
5. Steve Pearce, 1B
6. Eduardo Nunez, 3B
7. Ian Kinsler, 2B
8. Christian Vazquez, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Astros: Manager AJ Hinch inserted Jose Altuve as the designated hitter for Game 3 after the 2017 AL MVP banged his bum right knee in Game 2 and was limping afterwards. Marwin Gonzalez will play second base and Tony Kemp got the start in left field. Also, veteran catcher Brian McCann will start and catch Keuchel like he did in Game 3 of the ALDS.
1. George Springer, CF
2. Jose Altuve, DH
3. Alex Bregman, 3B
4. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
5. Marwin Gonzalez, 2B
6. Josh Reddick, RF
7. Carlos Correa, SS
8. Brian McCann, C
9. Tony Kemp, LF
Who are the starting pitchers?
Red Sox: Eovaldi gets the ball in Game 3, just as he did at Yankee Stadium in the ALDS. The Red Sox are hoping for a similar performance, as Eovaldi sparkled (seven innings, five hits, one run, no walks, five K's) en route to victory in his postseason debut. He fired seven pitches at 100 mph or more in that one, the most by a traditional starting pitcher in any MLB game this season.
Astros: Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner, gets the nod. The lefty continued his career-long playoff success with a solid start in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Indians, allowing two runs in five innings before the Astros added 10 late runs to secure a sweep. He has a 3.28 ERA in nine postseason outings and a 7.46 ERA in four career starts against the Red Sox. Keuchel held Boston to one run in 5 2/3 innings in Game 2 of the 2017 ALDS.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Red Sox: The Red Sox are starting to gain confidence in their postseason bullpen. Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and Joe Kelly have all had strong results of late. Closer Craig Kimbrel, who has given up at least one run in all three of his outings this October, is trying to find his groove. If Boston needs length in Game 3, lefty Eduardo Rodriguez can provide it.
Astros: Houston's bullpen will be about as rested as it could be, considering relievers threw only two innings in Game 2 on Sunday ahead of Monday's off-day. Closer Roberto Osuna has yet to pitch in this series, though he did warm up in Game 1 before the Astros blew it open in the ninth inning.
Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Red Sox: None.
Any injuries of note?
Red Sox: First baseman Mitch Moreland has reached base in both of his plate appearances as a pinch-hitter and is getting closer to making his first start since suffering a right hamstring injury in Game 2 of the ALDS. With a lefty going for the Astros in Game 3, Moreland likely won't start until Game 4.
Astros: Gonzalez hurt his back and neck when he crashed into the Green Monster in Game 2, but he said he would be fine for Game 3.
Who is hot and who is not?
Red Sox: After his two-hit performance in Game 2, Betts could be poised to take over. When he is hot, the Red Sox are a different team. … Devers is earning more playing time. The 21-year-old is hitting .360 (9-for-25) since Sept. 25. … Nunez is hitting .143 in the postseason, and Boston could use some production from him against lefties.
Astros: Bregman doesn't have a hit in the ALCS (0-for-3), but he has drawn six walks and been hit by a pitch, giving him a .700 on-base percentage. … Altuve is 1-for-8 in this series, and Reddick (1-for-7), White (0-for-5), Gurriel (2-for-9) and Gonzalez (1-for-8 with a homer) have also scuffled. … Springer (3-for-8) leads the Astros in hits and RBIs (four) in the ALCS. He has a hit in 11 consecutive playoff games, which is a club record. The MLB record is 17, shared by Derek Jeter (1998-99), Hank Bauer (1956-58) and Manny Ramirez (2003-04).
Anything else fans might want to know?
• This is the 16th time the Red Sox have been tied with their opponent after the first two games of a postseason series. Boston is 9-6 in those series, winning the past three.
• This is the eighth time the Astros have been tied with their opponent after the first two games of a postseason series. Houston is 2-5 in those series.
• Since the start of last year's postseason, the Astros are 10-1 at Minute Maid Park.
• Boston started the 2017 ALDS by getting routed in the first two games in Houston. The Astros won that best-of-five series in four games.
• Houston has homered in an MLB-record 14 consecutive postseason games.