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Roche: Immensely Important For Chris Sale, Red Sox To Win Game 1 In Houston

Author: Dan Roche

BOSTON (CBS) — Postseason baseball is awesome and it shifts into full gear Thursday as the ALDS begins for Boston.

Here’s a quick thought on what the Red Sox need to do to have a chance to beat the Astros.

—It begins and possibly ends with Game 1. Chris Sale said in the Sox AL East postgame celebration Saturday that this is why he came here, for moments like Game 1 of the playoffs. He’s never appeared in a playoff game so it’s a mystery as to how he’ll do. You just never know. Everything points to him being great, but ….

Sale also is 12-7 with a 1.88 ERA in 25 starts with six or more days of rest in his career. He’ll be pitching on eight days rest on Thursday.

—After Sale, John Farrell has mapped out a game plan with his bullpen on how to win games. It’s David Price to Addison Reed to Craig Kimbrel. It’s worked brilliantly down the stretch as Price has gone multiple innings and back-to-back days to prove he can do it. This is the new way in baseball and the Sox are ready for it whenever Sale is done.

—The biggest mystery for this team in Game 1 and in this series is how will the young B’s fare? Bogaerts, Betts, Benintendi, and Bradley, Jr all have a round of postseason play under their belts and now we find out if they’re ready to explode. If they can just contribute the timely hits, then the Sox have a great chance to win Game 1 and the series. If they slump for two games like they did last year vs Cleveland then the Sox are in trouble.

—Finally, I’m curious to see how the intangibles factor in for this Red Sox team in Game 1 and beyond. Farrell says (and I agree) that this team’s trademark has been resiliency. They never quit, as evidenced by their 15-3 record in extra inning games. They keep coming at you. It’s tough to go through if you’re a Sox fan as the nails get worn down with all the tension, but it’s worked.

—Can they win Game 1? Absolutely. If they don’t, can they win the series? Absolutely. However, I’m in the camp that they need to win Game 1 and if they don’t, they won’t win the series.

And it starts with Chris Sale. Can’t wait!

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