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The matchup between the high

  •  Sox and the defending World Series champion should be epic C.C. Sabathia Jersey , and the Game 1 showdown between Chris Sale and Justin Verlander will set the tone for the American League Championship Series.The Red Sox won 108 games this year, and with their ace on the mound, it seems likely they will be at their best. However, the Houston Astros won 103 games in winning the American League West, and they compiled a 54-27 road record, which was the best in the Major Leagues. ALCS ScheduleAll Times ET.Game 1:Saturday, October 13 at Boston (8:09 p.m., TBS)Game 2:Sunday, October 14 at Boston (7:09 p.m., TBS)Game 3:Tuesday, October 16 at Houston (5:09 p.m., TBS)Game 4:Wednesday, October 17 at Houston (8:39 p.m., TBS)Game 5:Thursday, October 18 at Houston (8:09 p.m., TBS)*Game 6:Saturday, October 20 at Boston (5:09 p.m., TBS)*Game 7:Sunday, October 21 at Boston (7:39 p.m. http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-giancarlo-stanton-jersey , TBS)**-if necessary Odds(via OddsShark)Series OddsHouston (-145; bet $145 to win $100)Boston (+115; bet $100 to win $115)The Astros beat the Red Sox 3-1 in last year's American League Division Series matchup, and the rematch appears compelling. A year ago, Alex Cora was the bench coach for manager A.J. Hinch and the Astros, and this year, he is managing the Red Sox.The team he is leading appears to be more aggressive and versatile than last year's version, and that's one of the reasons the Red Sox may have a much better chance of winning the series in 2018.Cora has said he learned quite a bit about postseason managing from Hinch."Be prepared to make adjustments throughout鈥攖hat's the most important thing," Cora said, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. "One thing I learned last year, to win a World Series is going to take 25, 27 guys to do it, regardless of their roles."In a perfect world, the starter goes six. You have the seventh inning guy, eighth inning, and ninth inning and you move on. To get 27 outs at this stage right now is very difficult. And sometimes you have to go to Plan B or Plan C."The Red Sox are led by a pair of MVP candidates in Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. Betts batted a league-leading .346, hit 32 home runs, 30 stolen bases and 129 runs scored. Martinez led the American League with 130 runs batted in, bashed 43 home runs and hit a robust .330.Those two get plenty of support in the lineup from Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi.The Astros have a formidable lineup featuring Alex Bregman, George Springer and Jose Altuve. Bregman had the best year with a .286/.394/.532 slash line, while belting 31 homers and driving in 103 runs.Springer is proving to be one of the postseason's best home-run hitters Andy Pettitte Jersey , while Altuve is getting stronger following an injury-plagued 2018 season.Sale was on top of his game in the ALDS against the New York Yankees, as he got the win in Game 1 and then pitched a perfect eighth inning in the clinching Game 4 of the series. Sale showed no signs of the shoulder issues that slowed him in the second half of the season, and he had an earned-run average of 2.84 along with nine strikeouts in 6.1 innings against New York.Cora has decided to start David Price in Game 2 of the series even though the lefty lasted just 1.2 innings in his only appearance against the Yankees. He gave up three earned runs, two home runs, walked two and struck out none.Price has struggled during his postseason career as a starter, but Cora is giving him a chance to get back to his regular-season form when he was 16-7 with 177 strikeouts in 176.1 innings.Verlander has the experience and power to match Sale pitch-for-pitch in the opener. He was 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA during the regular season and struck out 290 batters in 214.0 innings. Verlander earned an ALDS win over the Cleveland Indians as he gave up two hits and two runs in 5.1 innings.Gerrit Cole will pitch for the Astros in Game 2, and he was 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA this season.PredictionThis should be the tightest of series between the two best teams in the American League, and likely all of baseball.The Red Sox are a sharper and more competitive team than they were a year ago, and give Cora credit for turning his team into a destructive unit. After getting beaten by the Astros last year, they are anxious to get some revenge and also get a chance to represent the American League in the World Series.The two teams are equal or at least close in most areas, but the Astros appear to have the stronger bullpen. If any area is likely to break down for the Red Sox, it's the team's relief pitchers.Despite that, we like the Red Sox to win because of their home-field advantage, and the leadership values of Betts and Martinez.Cora has also shown he is not afraid to use his starters out of the bullpen in the postseason.The Red Sox move on to the World Series after beating the Astros in seven games. SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Farhan Zaidi understands the intrigue that stems from his unique baseball path: from the small-budget Oakland Athletics to the big-spending Los Angeles Dodgers and back to the Bay Area to join the rival Giants.San Francisco’s new front-office whiz plans to incorporate plenty from the franchise’s rich tradition by leaning on some of the entrenched baseball minds behind its success this decade, even if there are varying ideas about how to get the Giants back into playoff contention.“It’s a convenient narrative to see this as kind of a clash of schools of thought. I just don’t see it that way at all,” the MIT-educated Zaidi said of mixing his analytics expertise with the old-school practices of veteran executive Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy. “Obviously we didn’t get to these points in our career the same way or in a similar way, but I think that’s part of the beauty of the game, how we all wind up together and then pulling toward a common goal.”Following four years as general manager of the Dodgers, Zaidi received a five-year contract to become Giants president of baseball operations Tuesday. He was formally introduced Wednesday at AT&T Park Gary Sanchez Jersey , then headed back to Southern California and the GM meetings in Carlsbad. He’ll join up with San Francisco’s front office on site — a trip Zaidi figures will bring some “normalcy” back to his life after a whirlwind few days switching organizations.Giants CEO Larry Baer and Zaidi first met Friday for a planned two-hour session that carried on for 6 1/2 hours. Zaidi on Wednesday thanked the Dodgers for allowing him to pursue an opportunity with their NL West rival, saying “I’m incredibly gracious.”Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, said it would be fun competing against Zaidi.At the GM meetings, Friedman said the Dodgers would miss Zaidi’s “creativity, work ethic, ability to connect with people. He’s extremely talented and somebody who’s obviously made a huge impact for us the last four years.”Friedman said he and Zaidi had conversations about the Giants’ job during the last week. “I kept telling him, obviously I’m biased but I’m trying to do everything I could to support him and be a sounding board and set my bias to the side.”The Dodgers didn’t try to lure Zaidi back, Friedman said. “No, I mean that was the point. If this was something he wanted to pursue we were going to support him.”The next step for Zaidi is hiring a general manager and a farm director, something he hopes to do soon if the right candidate emerges.It’ll be a new direction for a franchise that won World Series championships in 2010, ’12 and ’14.Zaidi’s Dodgers reached the World Series the past two years without winning.“The response was just total heartbreak, I guess. I don’t know how else you say it,” he said.Zaidi will spend the coming months learning more about a franchise he’s watched closely for decades. He has already exchanged text messages with some core players, and he plans to visit a few this offseason. Zaidi’s first baseball game came at Candlestick Park in 1987, so this feels like coming “full circle.”Zaidi earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from MIT in 1998 and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 2011. He spent 10 years with the A’s before joining Los Angeles.“It was quite compelling the way Farhan was able to put together winning franchises throughout,” Baer said, noting he hopes Zaidi will lead the club decades into the future.San Francisco went 73-89 during an injury-plagued 2018 with a major league-worst 5-21 record in September, missing the playoffs for a second straight year and third time in four seasons.Zaidi has no plans of tackling a turnaround on his own. Sabean will stay directly involved http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-giancarlo-stanton-jersey , and Bochy is allowed the last word when it comes to on-field moves, including the lineup and rotation.“Anything that is under the privy of the manager, the manager has final say — period. That is not even a question for me,” Zaidi said.Zaidi and Bochy spoke briefly already and will meet in person at some point. Bochy is scheduled to attend late Hall of Famer Willie McCovey’s celebration of life Thursday at the ballpark after Zaidi is already back in the San Diego area.To Bochy and Sabean, Zaidi expressed his interest in learning from both longtime, accomplished baseball men while bringing a fresh look, saying “I see this as a collaborative process” with “ideas flowing both ways.”A message he kept coming back to Wednesday: “Our goal is to play meaningful baseball as deep into the season and as soon as we can.”To do so, he will strive to make “one good baseball move after another” in building a winning roster.“I think the theme that we had from a player-acquisition standpoint in particular was no move is too small to not be worth a certain level of effort and detail — waiver claims, minor league free agents, second or third players in trades,” he said. “There’s a lot of value to be had in identifying talent in those regards.”Oh, and don’t rule out an A’s-Giants trade with his former Oakland boss, Billy Beane.“I think one of those could happen,” Zaidi said, grinning.