A Yankees fan nightmare, as the Houston Astros are set to take on the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS beginning tonight. I am for sure not happy, but at the end of the day, I love baseball. These teams also do not like each other, as they have a brief postseason history of their own going back to 2018. The rematch of that ALCS is all set and ready to go.
The Red Sox have been the surprise of the postseason after pulling off the upset against the Tampa Bay Rays by beating them in four games. I was for sure surprised. Maybe it has to do with the Rays eating popcorn during their comfortable game one victory.
I mean at this point popcorn is cursed. Lane Kiffin, now this. I will now never eat it again whenever I ever need something good to happen in my life. STAY AWAY FROM THE CORN.
Anyway, this series should be a lot more interesting than what people may think it out to be. A crucial x-factor to look out for is Lance McCullers Jr.’s injury status. There have been reports already that he is will likely miss the ALCS due to his forearm tightness, but the Astros have yet to announce their ALCS roster yet, so only time will tell if we see any
Another x-factor is Chris Sale for the Red Sox. He has flat out not been good for them as of late and if they are going to continually have this version of Sale. He was named as the game 1 starter for the Sox. Sale also statically has not been a good postseason pitcher throughout his career, even prior to his late season struggles. His career postseason ERA comes at a 7.27 according to baseball-reference.com. This is in 8 total games with 5 starts. If you just do his starts, the ERA is actually worse…
So as per usual, this series will come down to… pitching. Shocker!
The Astros won the season series against the Red Sox 5-2, but you can just toss those numbers out of the window as they are worth absolutely nothing in the postseason. Look at the Rays and the Giants as examples of that.
The Lineup advantage goes to the Astros as they have had consistent postseason hitting success. I don’t give this advantage by much, but with Altuve, Correa, Bregman, Alvarez, Brantley… they are stacked top to bottom with poised hitting. I really expect this series to be an absolute slugfest as both teams have holes in their pitching staff.
When it comes to Starting Pitching, it really all depends. What Sale do the Red Sox get? Does McCullers even play? For the sake of this we’ll go by track record and likelihood and either way, I would still give the Red Sox the edge in Starting Pitching. That is solely because of Nathan Eovaldi. The man has been brilliant this postseason and has a clear edge over every starting pitcher, except McCullers, who like I said may not even play.
The bullpen edge slightly goes to the Astros. At the end of the day it’s a matter of depth, especially with the stretch in Boston where there will likely be 3 games in a row. I don’t fully trust anyone in that Sox pen minus Garret Whitlock and Tanner Houck. Nick Pivetta has been great thus far, but has known to be inconsistent throughout the season. Other than that, there is 0 trust in that pen, which gives the edge to Houston.
Managerial advantage gives the slight edge to Alex Cora of the Red Sox. That man should be the MVP of the team. It’s clear that he was the missing piece of this team and he always seems to push the right buttons in the right moments. Dusty Baker also is a legend, but the man also has not won a World Series as a manager, and he has been around the game for longer.
Prediction: Astros in 6 (with McCullers) Astros in 7 (without McCullers)
At the end of the day the talent, the experience is there for Houston. The Astros are determined to get back to where they belong and will get through this slugfest of a series against the Red Sox.