BOSTON – Justin Verlander’s 40-pitch relief appearance in the Astros’ ALDS-clinching 5-4 victory on Monday made Dallas Keuchel the clear frontrunner to start Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday.
As the team celebrated its ALCS berth in the visitors’ clubhouse at Fenway Park, Hinch wasn’t ready to definitively declare a Game 1 starter but acknowledged the obvious.
"We’ll see who we play first," Hinch said, "but most likely Dallas."
Keuchel would be pitching on six days’ rest after his ALDS Game 2 start against the Red Sox. Verlander, who pitched 2 2/3 innings Monday, could then start Game 2 of the ALCS on Saturday on regular, four days’ rest.
Keuchel, who had a 2.90 ERA in 145 2/3 innings in the regular season, pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball in his ALDS Game 2 start against the Red Sox.