Roche: Predicting Red Sox Roster For ALDS Vs. Astros

BOSTON (CBS) — They have 162 games in the books, and now it’s “On To Houston” for the 2017 Boston Red Sox. The best-of-five ALDS gets underway Thursday afternoon with Chris Sale facing Justin Verlander on the mound. Can’t get much better than that.

As we get ready for the series, let’s give you some quick thoughts as to what the Red Sox 25-man roster might look like come Thursday.

John Farrell said he wants to carry 11 pitchers and 14 position players. So with that being the guideline, let’s give it a shot.

Starting Pitchers:

Chris Sale
Drew Pomeranz
Doug Fister
Eduardo Rodriuez OR Rick Porcello

Starting Sale and Pomeranz in Games 1-2 is a no-brainer. I like Sale’s “This is why I came here” answer to getting the ball Thursday. My immediate thought was, “Gotta go break an 86-year-old curse” from a 2004 Curt Schilling commercial.

Pomeranz started 10 games against teams in the playoffs this season. The Sox went 9-1 and he went 6-1 with a 2.62 ERA.

I like Fister because of his postseason history. In eight playoff starts, Fister has averaged 6.1 innings while going 4-1 with an ERA of 1.76. He’s been solid in all eight of those starts.

As for Game 4, you may consider Sale on three days rest or Eduaro Rodriguez, especially with the Astros struggles this year vs lefties. You then have Rick Porcello in the bullpen if you need him.

Bullpen:

Craig Kimbrel
Addison Reed
David Price
Joe Kelly
Carson Smith
Robby Scott/Matt Barnes
Rodriguez/Porcello

Farrell has said the winning formula is Price-Reed-Kimbrel trio behind the starter. Price is certainly a potential postseason difference-maker and has answered every test this month as far as coming off short rest and going multiple innings are concerned. Reed has been as advertised and Kimbrel has been spectacular from start to finish.

Kelly has been solid while Smith returned from Tommy John in September, allowing just one run in eight appearances with a 1.35 ERA.

I think the final spot may depend on who Farrell/Carl Willis/Dave Dombrowski don’t start in Games 3 and 4. If Porcello doesn’t get the ball, he could be the extra RH out of the pen. If ERod doesn’t start, he could be a lefty. So that could help determine if the Sox choose Barnes or Scott as the last arm.

Positional Players:

Sandy Leon
Christian Vazquez

Mitch Moreland
Hanley Ramirez
Dustin Pedroia
Eduardo Nunez
Xander Bogaerts
Rafael Devers
Deven Marrero

Mookie Betts
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Andrew Benintendi
Rajai Davis
Brock Holt

Health is certainly a big factor on how this shapes up for the first round. Nunez ignited this offense when Dombrowski acquired him at the trade deadline. He, along with Devers, gave the regulars a spark and it proved to be huge. Nunez told me that he’s ready to go even though he has only been able to play in one game since early September. He says he just needs to convince the Sox he can be effective. He’s been fitted with new spikes and a new brace that should help his right knee from buckling.

Meanwhile, Pedroia will do everything in his power to play every game. The only question is, will it allow him to perform near his best?

Farrell may have to keep both Marrero and Holt to replace Devers at third base for defense late, and alto to be ready if Nunez, Pedroia, or both can’t make it through.

Davis is here for his speed and potential base stealing late, and that may leave Chris Young off the roster.

More from Dan Roche
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