Red Sox

10 players to watch as the Red Sox and Astros battle in the ALCS

Kike Hernández has been spectacular this postseason.

Kike Hernandez howls and leaps as he heads for the dugout following a home run. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

There’s no shortage of firepower on either side as the Red Sox and Astros meet in the American League Championship Series.

Here’s a closer look at some key players for each team.

Red Sox

Chris Sale

Sale’s career ERA in the regular season is 3.03. In the postseason, it’s 7.27. In his lone start in these playoffs, he allowed five earned runs in one inning against the Rays.

Friday is a chance for Sale to get back on track, and he’ll try to do so against a particularly potent lineup. This will be his first start against Houston since 2019.

Alex Bregman (.188) and Carlos Correa (.167) have struggled against Sale, while Jose Altuve (.300) and Yuli Gurriel (.367) have had success in a small sample size.

Rafael Devers

The 24-year-old Devers has hit .308 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 20 postseason games. According to the Red Sox, the only other players in MLB history to record 20-plus postseason RBIs before age 25 are Correa (24), Albert Pujols (21), and Andruw Jones (20).


This postseason, he’s hitting .300 with two home runs and six RBIs.

Kike Hernández

Hernández, who provided the series-clinching sacrifice fly against the Tampa Bay Rays, has been outstanding during the postseason. He’s hitting .435 with two home runs, six RBIs, 19 total bases, and a slugging percentage of .826.

The Red Sox have a team slugging percentage of .547, and he’s been a major reason why. He’s been consistent, he also has a flair for the dramatic.

Kyle Schwarber

Schwarber is a career .237 hitter in the regular season and a .294 hitter in the postseason. The always-patient slugger, who has more than 100 career postseason plate appearances, won a ring with the Chicago Cubs in 2016.

He’s endeared himself to Red Sox fans of late — notably when poking fun of himself after making a routine play at first following an error — and is a hitter fans should want to see at the plate with the game on the line.

Tanner Houck

Houck has been dominant of late. He retired 30 straight batters over four appearances spanning from the end of the regular season to the beginning of the postseason, pitching a hidden perfect game.

Manager Alex Cora has plenty of options for when and how to use him. Houck pitched one inning against the Yankees, five against the Rays in Game 2, and one more against the Rays in Game 4, so he should be good to go as needed in the ALCS.


“He has been amazing,” Cora said. “The fastball, the slider, the split — he doesn’t panic. We’ve been using him a lot, and we have to be careful with that.”


Carlos Correa

Correa is hitting .385 with four RBIs this postseason and delivered a key two-run double in Game 3 against the Chicago White Sox. The 6-foot-4 shortstop has 17 career postseason home runs in 283 plate appearances.

Jose Altuve

The Astros have made the ALCS each of the past five seasons. If it seems like the diminutive second baseman is often in the middle of everything, that’s because he is.

He’s a .306 career postseason hitter, including a .351 mark in the ALCS, and has appeared in 67 playoff games.

Framber Valdez

The Game 1 starter Valdez, who finished the regular season 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA, struggled in his lone start this postseason. He allowed four earned runs in 4.1 innings in an eventual win over the White Sox.

For his career, however, he’s 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA in the playoffs.

Hunter Renfroe (.000) and Christian Vazquez (.167) have struggled against Valdez, while J.D. Martinez (.333) and Xander Bogaerts (.333) have thrived in a small sample size.

“I feel really proud of myself to be able to make my own story in this postseason, to have the opportunity to win the confidence of a manager [Dusty Baker] who doesn’t mess around,” Valdez said.

Kyle Tucker

Tucker led the Astros with two home runs and seven RBIs in the ALDS and has a .706 slugging percentage.


The 24-year-old outfielder only appeared in 108 games in his first three seasons, but this year he played in 140 and hit .294 with 30 home runs and 92 RBIs. The Astros already had a lethal lineup before his emergence, and now they have another tough out in the mix.

Ryan Pressly

The right-hander had 26 saves and posted a 2.25 ERA in the regular season. He hasn’t allowed a run in three appearances this postseason.

Pressly didn’t allow a run in three appearances in the ALCS against the Rays last year.

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