Justin Verlander has wasted no time becoming a fan favorite in Houston. Verlander and the Houston Astros are off and running in the 2017 MLB playoffs as they manhandled the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the best-of-five American League Division Series this afternoon by the final score of 8-2.

Altuve, Houston bats get to Chris Sale

The Houston Astros are one of the best hitting teams in all of baseball, and in Game 1 of the ALDS they showed just how good they can be. Not many teams get to someone as good as Boston's Chris Sale, but the Astros did early and often as they piled on the runs.

Sale gave up seven runs on nine hits in just five innings. For Boston fans, it's not a good sign when your opponent bangs around your ace, especially in a five-game series. Leading the attack for the Astros was MVP candidate Jose Altuve.

Altuve finished the game 3 for 4 with all three of his hits sailing over the wall for home runs. Altuve joined rare company when he hit his third round-tripper, as he is the latest to accomplish the feat since Pablo Sandoval pulled off the hat trick in 2012. Babe Ruth did it twice in his colorful career, and who can forget Reggie Jackson's three moon shots back in the 1977 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers?

Altuve is just one incredible player, and after today's performance, how can he not be considered the leader for the MVP of the American League?

Altuve finished the 2017 regular season with a .346 average, a .410 on-base percentage and an OPS of .957. Add to that, he smacked Altuve 24 home runs and has one of the best gloves in the game, and you have the makings of one incredible ballplayer - who is definitely MVP material.

History is not on Red Sox side

The ALDS series between the Red Sox and Astros is far from over, however, if you are into statistics, Boston may be in a bit of trouble already. The team who wins Game 1 of a best-of-five series has gone on to win that series 71% of the time. That doesn't mean this series is over by a long shot, but it is going to be an uphill climb for the Red Sox.

Boston needs to bounce back and win Game 2 if they have any hopes of winning this series.

The second game of the best-of-five series is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET Friday afternoon and once again will take place at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Boston is scheduled to start Drew Pomeranz (17-6) - 3.32 ERA, while the Astros counter with Dallas Keuchel (14-5) - 2.90 ERA. The game will air live on FS1.