Boston Red Sox (93-69) vs. Houston Astros (101-61)
Game 1: Thursday October 5th 4:08pm on FS1/MLB
Game 2: Friday October 6th 2:05pm on FS1/MLB
Game 3: Sunday Time TBD
Game 4: Monday Time TBD
Game 5: Wednesday Time TBD
Lineup: Advantage Houston Astros 70/30
A lineup headlined by George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa can go toe-to-toe with any across the game of baseball. Top heavy, but also deep, the ‘Stros bats should give the Red Sox rotation plenty to handle early and often in this five-game series
The Red Sox 2017 leader in OPS? Yep, you guessed it, Eduardo Nunez. Down years from Xander Bogaerts and 2016 MVP Runner-up, Mookie Betts, have left the Red Sox *second-to-last* amongst the playoff teams in regular season runs scored. For comparison, the Astros were first in all of baseball. This series may be over shortly after it begins if the typically reliable Sox hitters don’t return to form.
How do you counter Chris Sale? Well with Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel of course. It is tough to argue that any team up against Sale has an advantage, but with a game 2 matchup of Keuchel versus Pomeranz, things may swing back in the Astros favor.
Rick Porcello and Doug Fister have pitched on the big stage before and this may even the playing field with the highly talented, but inexperienced Lance McCullers, but will it be enough? Question marks beyond the Astros top-3 starters may result in the piggy-backing of Morton and Peacock for game 4. Uncertainty abound for both teams could potentially result in a highly volatile series.
Bullpen: Advantage Boston Red Sox 55/45
Once again, the Red Sox have the star power. Craig Kimbrel is the biggest name of the bunch and is coming off of perhaps his best year yet as the best reliever in baseball. However, what matters just as much is how the ball gets to him. Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and trade-deadline acquisition Addison Reed serve as a strong bridge to Kimbrel in the ninth.
The Astros are loaded with power arms, some of who can consistently go multiple innings. Ken Giles led the team in saves and ERA and serves as a reliable ninth-inning man. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch has the ability and guile to utilize Chris Devenski and super-swing-man Brad Peacock in creative ways to shutdown the middle innings of a game. How well Hinch uses these two arms could be the difference maker of the series.
Series advantage: Houston Astros
Although it is the same story told by each teams regular second record, the Stros should have the advantage here in the ALDS. Unless the Red Sox secondary starters step up, and stars hit like they did in 2016 they may struggle to keep pace with the high-powered team from Houston