Expected to play Game 3

Justin Verlander talks to the media before Thursday’s Game

Things are different now.

And so, there is considerable curiosity within the industry about whether another division series sweep will bring sweeping change in Boston, beginning with the manager.

Strasburg wound up allowing just those two unearned runs in seven innings, with three hits and one walk. The Red Sox, facing elimination, are trying to avoid getting swept in the ALDS for the second straight year after losing to Cleveland last season.

First pitch of Game 2 takes place at 2 p.m. EST Oct. 6 on Fox Sports 1 with Joe Davis, David Cone and A.J Pierzynski on the call from Minute Maid Park.

Starters have not yet been named for Game 4 or 5, and despite starting 33 games during the regular season, Rick Porcello might not be one of those starters, pitching an inning of relief on Thursday. "We haven't played well yet, so we have to get back home and figure it out".

What's most deflating for anyone hoping for something - anything - from this Red Sox team is that it appears to be a carbon copy of last year's postseason flameout. Carlos Correa finished 2-for-4 with a home run, a walk, two runs and four RBIs.

The Astros, on the other hand, are 24-for-70 (.343) with 11 extra base hits, six of them home runs. "I think we are all looking forward to getting on the field here in front of our home fans at Fenway, but as close as our team is, as much conversation that goes on daily, whether it's about what we're now involved in, what the challenge is that we're facing, this has been a close-knit team". They are young and don't have David Ortiz so it's going to be tough to win this best-of-five series.

But unlike past year, when the Red Sox chalked up their postseason humiliation largely to the inexperience of their young core, it's more hard to overlook this time that they simply are inferior to the Houston Astros, an offensive juggernaut with better starting pitching.

John Farrell needs to save somebody to start a potential Game 4, but there's no Game 4 without a win in Game 3.

Game two in Houston went much the same as game one. In that time, he had a 5.54 earned run average and 2-8 record. Fister has been warming up early to avoid giving up runs in the first inning, which he had done in a six-game streak that snapped in mid-September.

In his last start, Fister faced the Astros on September 29 at Fenway. They did so with a well-balanced attack, with 10 players recording 50 or more RBI - just the fourth team in major league history to reach that mark - and eight players with 15 or more home runs. Marwin Gonzalez is 0-for-7. In 13 career at-bats versus Fister, Beltran has five hits versus Fister.

Beltran, who didn't start against the two left-handers, will be the DH for Houston Sunday.

What Farrell needs is a horse that can actually run wire-to-wire, but again, the Red Sox stable looks empty.

For the second straight afternoon in Houston, the Red Sox got nothing out of their starting pitcher and next to nothing out of their offense, ultimately leading to a pair of blowout victories for the Astros on their home field.

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