J.D. Martinez
AP Images

Video: J.D. Martinez clears Green Monster with a three-run homer against Yankees

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The Red Sox-Yankees ALDS showdown is one of the most anticipated playoff series this fall, and for good reason. In the first inning of Game 1, Boston slugger J.D. Martinez fueled the hype even further after he unloaded a three-run homer off of the Yankees’ J.A. Happ.

The ball — a 2-0 heater that topped out around 93 MPH — hurtled 374 feet out to the first row of seats atop the Green Monster to give the Red Sox an early 3-0 lead. It was the first postseason home run Martinez had collected since Game 1 of the 2017 NLDS, when he bested the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw with a solo home run, and the first Happ had given up since Game 2 of the 2016 ALCS.

Not content to rest on their laurels, the Red Sox returned in the third inning to pad their lead as Steve Pearce drove in another run against New York righty Chad Green and Xander Bogaerts followed up with a sac fly. They have yet to surrender a single run behind Chris Sale, who is working on a one-hitter after three scoreless innings of two-walk, five-strikeout ball. Boston currently leads 5-0 in the fourth.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.