On Saturday, the Red Sox beat the Astros 5-0 (box score) and in doing so clinched the American League East title for a second straight season. It's their ninth division title in franchise history.

In the win, Drew Pomeranz pitched well, Mookie Betts homered, and Andrew Benintendi's stolen base made him just the third Red Sox rookie ever to author a 20-20 season. 

As a result of their triumph, the Red Sox will open their postseason in the ALDS against those same Astros. The rival Yankees, meantime, will host the AL Wild Card Game against the Twins. Speaking of the postseason ... 

That was prior to Saturday's clinch. By wrapping up the flag before the final day of the regular season, the Red Sox can keep ace Chris Sale on ice until Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday. Had the Sox been forced to start Sale on Sunday, he wouldn't have been available to start on full rest until Game 2 of the ALDS on Friday.

As well, Sale will now be able to start Game 1 on eight-days' rest. Given that Sale has shown occasional signs of fatigue down the stretch, that could be big for Boston. 

Also encouraging is that lefty David Price, whom the Sox are trying to convert into a bullpen weapon for the playoffs, pitched for a second straight day on Saturday and for the third time in four days. He showed strong velocity and crisp stuff on Saturday and got his team out of a mostly inherited jam in the seventh.

Here are Price's stats since returning to the active roster as a bullpen piece ... 

David Price
LAD • SP • #33
As reliever in 2017
IP8 2/3
Pitches 120
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Yep, that's some dominance. He's made four multi-inning outings, and now, as noted, he's pitched on back-to-back days without seeing a decline in stuff. Price is certainly looking like a relief ace weapon as the Sox get set for the playoffs.

While the Yankees made up ground in the division in recent days, the Sox now have a strong 17-10 mark for the month of September. This season, the Sox won the division thanks in part to Sale's dominant year, Craig Kimbrel's excellence in the closer role, and Pomeranz's overlooked work in the rotation.

In all, Boston ranked second in the AL this season in ERA, and the offense ranked sixth in the AL in runs scored. Since the promotion of prospect Rafael Devers to take over at third base, Boston's has become a lineup without any glaring weaknesses. 

On Thursday, the newly crowned AL East champs will begin their quest to win the World Series for ninth time in franchise history.