Gerrit Cole
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Lineups for ALCS Game 2

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After steamrolling the Red Sox with a 7-2 finish during Game 1 of the ALCS, the Astros will send Gerrit Cole to the mound as they look for a 2-0 leg up in the series. In two career starts at Fenway Park, Cole has posted 11 cumulative innings of seven-run, 10-strikeout ball against the Red Sox. He’ll try to improve on those numbers — and the seven innings of one-run, 12-strikeout ball he delivered in Game 2 of the 2018 ALDS — to keep the Astros’ as-yet undefeated postseason record alive this fall.

Here are the lineups:

Astros

1. George Springer (R) CF
2. José Altuve (R) 2B
3. Alex Bregman (R) 3B
4. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
5. Tyler White (R) DH
6. Marwin González (S) LF
7. Carlos Correa (R) SS
8. Martín Maldonado (R) C
9. Josh Reddick (L) RF

Gerrit Cole RHP

No changes for Houston here. It’s worth noting that Springer has the opportunity to set a team-best record if he notches a hit and extends his current streak to 11 consecutive games. The Astros as a whole can also set a new MLB record if they manage even one home run off the Red Sox tonight, which will bring them to 14 straight playoff games with a homer. (The current record holder? …still the Astros, who recorded their first 13-game streak with a postseason home run in 2001-2004.)

Red Sox

1. Mookie Betts (R) RF
2. Andrew Benintendi (L) LF
3. J.D. Martinez (R) DH
4. Xander Bogaerts (R) SS
5. Steve Pearce (R) 1B
6. Rafael Devers (L) 3B
7. Ian Kinsler (R) 2B
8. Jackie Bradley, Jr. (L) CF
9. Christian Vázquez (R) C

David Price LHP

Only a few adjustments to the bottom of the lineup for Game 2: Devers will take over for Eduardo Núñez at the hot corner in what will be just his second playoff start, while Kinsler will swap in for Brock Holt and the right-handed Vázquez will catch Price in place of the switch-hitting Sandy Leon.

Game 1 is scheduled to begin at 7:09 PM EDT.

Astros clinch AL West for third consecutive year

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For the third consecutive season, the Astros are AL West champions. The ‘stros clinched the division on Sunday afternoon with a convincing 13-5 win over the Angels. They were backed by three homers from leadoff man George Springer and individual homers from Alex Bregman and Aledmys Díaz.

Springer has the 22nd three-homer game in baseball this season. He’s the first Astro to hit three homers in a game since Yordan Álvarez last month, on August 10.

Justin Verlander lasted five innings in Sunday’s start, yielding two runs on six hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts. The right-hander is arguably the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young Award, now 20-6 with a 2.53 ERA and a 288/42 K/BB ratio in 217 innings on the year. Verlander is 12 strikeouts shy of the 300-strikeout milestone and six strikeouts short of 3,000 for his career. If the Astros stay on schedule, Verlander would pitch the second-to-last game of the regular season against the Angels.

Sunday’s win marked No. 102 on the season for the Astros. The franchise record is 103 wins set last year. With six games remaining, it seems likely the Astros will set a new record.

The Astros and Yankees both won on Sunday, meaning the Astros remain a half-game ahead in the race for home field advantage. The No. 1 seed will also have the privilege of playing the Wild Card winner, which is down to the Athletics, Rays, and Indians.