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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, October 08, 2017 1:00 am

Red Sox trying to stay strong on brink of sweep

Associated Press

ALDS

Boston vs. Houston

What: Game 3

When: 2:38 p.m. today

Where: Fenway Park, Boston

Series: Astros lead 2-0

TV: FS1

BOSTON – If the Boston Red Sox are nervous about the possibility of being swept out of the playoffs for the second straight year, they were trying hard not to show it on Saturday.

A year after losing in David Ortiz's final game and being eliminated 3-0 by the Cleveland Indians in the AL Division Series, Boston returns to Fenway Park again on the cusp of another early postseason exit.

The Houston Astros picked apart Boston's top two starters in Games 1 and 2, roughing up Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz at Minute Maid Park.

With a win in Game 3 today, Houston can advance to a league championship series for the first time since 2005, when it made it to the World Series. Brad Peacock starts for the Astros.

Back on its home field, Boston will try to stick around for at least another game, this time pinning its hopes with right hander Doug Fister, a June waiver signing who became a regular in the starting rotation only because of injuries.

Though Fister might not be the marquee name that Boston would ordinarily peg to be on the mound in his position, he isn't a stranger to it. In eight postseason starts, Fister has gone 4-1 with a 1.78 ERA. His teams were 7-1 in those games. Two wins came with his team facing elimination.

“Now is not a time to change up our game plan or our execution. It's a matter of going out there, staying with what we do and do what we do best,” Fister said.

Meanwhile, the Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he's gotten exactly what he hoped to out of his young core. George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa have combined to go 12 of 32 with six home runs and 10 RBI. Altuve had three home runs alone in Game 1.

“The strength of this team will continue to be not only those big names ... but the depth of his lineup,” Hinch said.