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Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Houston Astros look set for Fenway Park take-off

Reigning champions should not be afraid of Boston ace Sale

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander has been in superb form
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MLB post-season
BT Sport 1, 1.09am Saturday night

The American League Championship Series starts on Saturday night when two teams who each racked up more than 100 wins go head to head – Houston visit the Boston Red Sox in the first game of what should be an extremely high-class match-up.

Boston have home-field advantage in the series (they start with two matches at Fenway Park and will play four of the seven games, if necessary, in Massa­chusetts). But it is worth noting that the Astros have been good on the road for a while now – they have had a better away record than at home for two seasons.

That is not to say that their home record was bad – it wasn't – but their road records have been extraordinary, with the Texans going 57-24 away from Minute Maid Park this season and 53-38 the year before.

Chris Sale starts for the Red Sox in game one, but the Astros should not be afraid of the Boston ace. Sale had a fine 2.11 ERA in the regular season but his perform­ances, as they invariably seem to do, dipped in the second half of the campaign. The Astros counter with Justin Verlander, who is pitching as well as ever and had a 2.52 ERA.

This series could clearly go either way, but punters who took Racing Post Sport's advice to back the Astros at 15-8 at the start of the playoffs can be confident that the World Series champions have a good chance of heading back to the Fall Classic.

Already recommended
Houston Astros to win the American League
2pts 15-8 Hills


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Sale had a fine 2.11 ERA in the regular season but his performances, as they invariably seem to do, dipped in the second half of the campaign
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