The Indians will send Trevor Bauer to the mound, and the Yankees will counter with Sonny Gray.
Another key figure who wasn't home-grown, Kimbrel was acquired from San Diego in November 2015 for a package of four players that included Salem alumni Manuel Margot and Carlos Asuaje.
Sale has been scrupulously tested in the regular season. They ranged all the way from Game Three starter, to bullpen, to not even on the roster. Verlander, the 2011 AL MVP, has been at his dominating best since the trade and will start Game 1, with Keuchel going in Game 2. Keuchel is 0-1 with a 9.88 ERA and 12 strikeouts in his career against the Red Sox. In 78 innings, he has struck out 85 and walked just 19. And although the Twins aren't highly regarded, they've overcome a lot all season to get where they are now.
Reed, who has settled in perfectly as the eighth-inning man, has allowed just one run in his last 14 outings. He's 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in five starts since the deal and 15-8 with a 3.36 ERA in 33 starts overall this season. Could this be the year Boston hoists another World Series trophy?
Nunez's status for the rest of the series is "to be determined", the team said. The lone blemish on his resume is his postseason mark - 4-7 with a 4.55 ERA in 18 games. He did not pitch well though in two of his last three starts. He put together four straight seven-plus inning performances. His two-seamer sat at 95 miles per hour, two ticks up, and his slider near 83 miles per hour, three ticks up.
This will be the Red Sox final chance to get back in this game as the Astros are three outs away from taking home a win in Game 1. He gave up four runs (two earned) in a loss to the Indians in his first start with the Yankees on August 3.
Verlander is a six-time All Star who has appeared in the playoffs five times. Detroit won all five of those games. Going 4-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 55.1 IP, although the WHIP could look better sitting at an unsettling 1.27. Sale was 17-8 for the season with a 2.90 ERA in 214.1 innings. He has held Astros hitters to a.168 batting average, with a strikeout to walk ratio of 13, his highest against any American League team.
Kyle Hendricks will pitch Game 1 for the Cubs. The Astros have the slight advantage here with pitching as their starters have been on point all season long. Game 1 of the ALDS is going to be huge, as the victor has a quick advantage in a short 5-game series. He looked good at times, but very hittable at others.
Abbey Mastracco: The Astros were the most complete team I saw this season. In doing so, Gonzalez gave that two-run cushion back to the Astros. He failed to record a 1-2-3 inning, and partially as a result of his climbing pitch count and partially a result of his utter ineffectiveness, he was pulled with two on and nobody out in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Red Sox were shut out 10 times, and face the likes of Justin Verlander (Thursday) and Dallas Keuchel (Friday). It came in the form of a no-doubt-about it home run off the bat of Alex Bregman, who had never faced Sale in his career.