ALCS- Boston Red Sox (108-54) vs. Houston Astros (103-59)
Boston Wins Series 4-1
I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to remember any seven-game series, in any sport, that felt this close, despite ending in only five games. I can’t. With the Astros dominating in game one, the Red Sox looked for a moment to be shakier than their 108 wins would suggest. Justin Verlander’s game one gem, and Chris Sale’s apparent illness and weakness left fans on both sides thinking that the series might end sooner than expected. And it did. Just not in the way anyone expected at the end of that 7-2 Astros rout in Fenway. In game two, David Price pitched well enough to leave with a one-run lead, but a late run by the Astros made it 7-5, though it was too little, too late to prevent Boston from tying the series up. Game three cemented Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi’s continued ascent, as he pitched marvelously, and the Sox bats came out to play, including a five-run eighth inning highlighted by a Jackie Bradley Jr. grand slam that closed the door on the reigning champs and stole back homefield advantage. Game four saw its fair share of controversy, with the revelation that an Astros employee was videotaping opposing teams from the press box. The Astros have denied that he was there to spy on the Red Sox or steal signs, but their explanation was hardly plausible. Further complicating game four was a disputed and videotape-reviewed home run by Jose Altuve that was negated by a fan interference call. At issue was the location of Mookie Betts’ glove as a fan pushed it closed. No conclusive video was available to overturn the ruling on the field, so the call stood, and those two runs ended up being the difference, as the Red Sox escaped 8-6, on the back of a miraculous all-or-nothing diving catch by Andrew Benintendi to close out the game as the Astros threatened to walk off with the win. Game five saw David Price finally get his first post season win, with a six-inning, three-hit, nine-strikeout scoreless performance that looked almost effortless. Boston closer Craig Kimbrell also had his best outing of the playoffs, issuing one walk, but striking out two to get out unscathed. Boston will await the winner of the Brewers-Dodgers series but will have homefield advantage regardless of the outcome of that series.
Image Source: USA Today