Cora: Red Sox must get Alex Bregman off the plate

There’s video evidence that Luis Severino was tipping his pitches in the playoffs — and well before then

Then with two outs in the top of the third inning, Marwin Gonzalez launched a two-run blast over the Green Monster in left field to give the Astros a 4-2 lead. The last Astros player to safely hit in at least 10 postseason games was former outfielder/infielder Lance Berkman, who set the record with an RBI double and solo home run during the Astros' campaign in the 2004 NLCS. Later in the ninth, first baseman Yuli Gurriel belted a three-run shot and the rout was on. The Red Sox got out of the inning safely, and entered the ninth down just 3-2.

Gerrit Cole is up for the Astros. If Verlander didn't walk three straight hitters and uncork a wild pitch in the fifth inning, the Sox were staring at a shutout.

The Red Sox managed just three hits with their ace on the mound in (realistically) a must-win Game 1.

Both starters - and in particular Sale - struggled at times with walks, errors and hit batsmen with what was certainly a freakish four hour, three minute opening to the highly anticipated series.

That balance makes the Astros a better team than the Red Sox.

The Red Sox offense didn't show up either. By the time it made its way back into the vicinity of the infield, the Astros were already standing atop a two-run lead.

"That inning I had kind of lost my feel a bit". Compared to the 2016 ALCS Game 1, the viewership was up 42% vs. 2016 with double-digit growth across all key demos. To be able to get out of that inning and keep us tied that was to me, the ballgame. These are the World Champion Astros, after all. Jose Altuve is the reigning MVP in the American League. Benintendi didn't take the lumber off his shoulder for ONE pitch of that fifth-inning at-bat, which was Boston's golden opportunity to shift the momentum in Game 1. Unable to locate his slider and with his fastball averaging just 92 miles per hour, it's a miracle the lanky lefty got through a potent Astros lineup twice and allowed just the two runs on one hit.

Sunday is a big sports night in Boston. They can be beaten but the Sox need to hit, pitch and defend with stark consistency throughout the series to have a chance at knocking off the champs. Price just doesn't win in the postseason. They can see another World Series on the horizon. And based on their form from September bleeding into October, they look capable of shortening this series in a hurry.

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