HOUSTON -- When he made his postseason debut last year with the Red Sox, Drew Pomeranz pitched exclusively out of the bullpen, a role that subjected him to the uncertainty that comes with working as a reliever.
But Pomeranz won't have to wait around for an opportunity to get into a game this October. After Boston dropped Game 1, 8-2, to Houston on Thursday, the 28-year-old left-hander is set to make his first career postseason start today, when he'll oppose former American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel in Game 2 of the AL Division Series presented by Doosan at Minute Maid Park (2 p.m. ET on FS1).
"It's always nice to know when I'm going to start instead of sitting around waiting for that call," Pomeranz said before Thursday's game. "I'm just excited to get out there for that first start. I'm pretty anxious for tomorrow to come. Thankfully it's a day game, so I don't have to wait around all day for a night game to get out there."
Pomeranz went 17-10 with a 3.32 ERA over a career-high 173 2/3 innings in 32 regular-season starts for Boston this year. He last pitched on Saturday, firing six innings of one-run ball against the Astros to lead the Red Sox to their AL East-clinching 6-3 victory at Fenway Park.
"You kind of have an idea of what the guys do," Pomeranz said of facing the Astros in back-to-back starts. "It's one thing to look at them on paper, look at the scouting reports and all this or watch video, but to know, to kind of feel out how they're approaching the box against me last time. Kind of goes both ways. They got to see me; I got to see them. So we'll make a game plan based off of how the last start went, and kind of adjust going into it."
Pomeranz has allowed two runs over 12 1/3 innings in his two starts against Houston this year. In eight career appearances at Minute Maid Park, he has logged a 4.10 ERA over 26 1/3 innings. Jose Altuve (7-for-17), Carlos Correa (3-for-5), Brian McCann (2-for-11, homer) and Cameron Maybin (2-for-6) are among the Astros who have had the most success against Pomeranz in the past.
The Red Sox had weighed starting Pomeranz in Game 3 to give him seven days' rest instead of five, as his velocity had dipped in the final month of the regular season. After averaging 92.74 mph with his four-seam fastball in August, Pomeranz averaged 90.63 mph in September, though he attributed the drop to increased usage of his two-seamer, which he doesn't throw as hard as his four-seamer.
Pomeranz threw his two-seamer less than seven percent of the time over the first five months of the season, but that figure jumped to 21.02 percent in September.
"I guess velocity has been down a little bit, but it's more, I think, pitching usage," Pomeranz said. "So I'm not worried about that or I don't think about that. I think it's more of just I kind of go out there and see what I have that day and see what I need to have to beat certain teams and that's what was working, so just kind of rolled with it."
Pomeranz led the Majors in called strikes on curveballs (258). A conversation with manager John Farrell convinced the Red Sox that the lefty didn't need additional rest.
"I told him I was ready [for] whatever," Pomeranz said. "Whatever day he sees me in there, I'm ready for it."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.