MLB

Verlander tries to keep Astros alive

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

HOUSTON -- The dire moments are casually familiar for Houston Astros right-hander Justin Verlander, who many seasons ago assumed the responsibility bestowed upon a staff ace.

Verlander (2-0, 3.18 ERA this postseason) will make his second start of the American League Championship Series on Thursday at Minute Maid Park in Game 5 against the Boston Red Sox.

He is charged with logging another effective outing -- that is the baseline requirement. Of greater importance is his role relative to the Astros' hopes for repeating as World Series champions. With Houston trailing the best-of-seven series 3-1 and facing elimination, that responsibility is significant, but the series standing doesn't weigh on Verlander or alter his preparation for his start.

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AL Home Runs
Rank Name HR
1 K. Davis, Oak48
2 J. Martinez, Bos43
3 J. Gallo, Tex40
4t J. Ramírez, Cle39
4t M. Trout, LAA39
6t F. Lindor, Cle38
6t G. Stanton, NYY38
8 N. Cruz, Sea37
9t M. Betts, Bos32
9t E. Encarnacion, Cle32
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AL Runs Batted In
Rank Name RBI
1 J. Martinez, Bos130
2 K. Davis, Oak123
3 E. Encarnacion, Cle107
4 J. Ramírez, Cle105
5t X. Bogaerts, Bos103
5t A. Bregman, Hou103
7 G. Stanton, NYY100
8 J. Lowrie, Oak99
9 N. Cruz, Sea97
10 M. Haniger, Sea93
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