ALCS- Boston Red Sox (108-54) vs. Houston Astros (103-59)
This is the ALCS that we’ve been waiting for all season long. There has been little doubt since mid-summer that these are the two best teams in baseball. They boast the only two run differentials over +200 in all of MLB, though they got there in different ways. The Red Sox did it with a relentless offensive attack, scoring more runs than anyone in the majors. There just aren’t any soft spots in their lineup. Want proof? Boston manager Alex Cora gave the game three start at second base to utility infielder Brock Holt, who became the first player in history to hit for the cycle in a playoff game as Boston buried the Yankees 16-1. Holt then returned to his bench roll for game four. DH J.D. Martinez came close to a triple crown this year, winning the RBI race and finishing second in average and home runs. Mitch Moreland is dinged up, so first base might be an issue for Boston. The Astros can hit, too, but not like Boston’s crew. Houston’s advantage comes in the form of its balanced rotation and superior bullpen. There’s no contest here, especially in the middle innings. Houston allowed 113 fewer runs than Boston during the season, and Boston will need some longer outings from their top starters to contend with Houston’s hurlers. Saturday’s game one should be a good start, with Boston’s Chris Sale against playoff stalwart Justin Verlander.
Prediction: All in all, postseason logic dictates that good pitching should overcome good
hitting, but in this scenario, I just don’t see it happening. Houston features a stable of
mostly righties, and Boston’s OPS against righties is 98 points higher than lefties. Also,
Boston has fared much better against winning teams. Boston won well over half its
games against teams over .500, while Houston barely broke even.
Homefield advantage matters…Boston in 7.
Image Source: USA Today