2017 American League Divisional Round Preview: Astros vs Red Sox
The 2017 American League Divisional Round is set. The Houston Astros face off against the Boston Red Sox. This series will be a pitching battle to say the least. Both clubs have multiple aces that can work through an entire outing to elevate their team to victory. Houston is set with many All-Stars, as well as Boston. Game 1 is Thursday at 3:08 pm on MLB Network.
For starters, the Astros acquired ace pitcher Justin Verlander from the Detroit Tigers in September and he has been dominant. Verlander has pitched stellar outings and provides a boost to the club. Houston has dealt with postseason woes in the past. They are seeking to end that this season. A World Series trophy is on their agenda. To get there, they first have to defeat Boston.
The Red Sox have aces in Chris Sale and Rick Porcello, who have both been outstanding all season long. Boston acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox, which proved to be a big boost to them. Both Sale and Porcello will definitely get their fair share here.
Pitching wise this series could get very intriguing. With Verlander facing off against Sale in Game 1. If both pitchers can get deep into the game, it could turn out to be a wild series. The Astros have the slight advantage here with pitching as their starters have been on point all season long. Game 2 starters are yet determined, but it will be intriguing the whole series.
Hitting wise, the Astros yet again have the advantage. Carlos Correa has been back, but has been slumping since his return. All-Star Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman can both get pivotal hits in clutch situations to help Houston win this series. As for Boston, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts have to get on stride early and not let up.
What’s At Stake
What will decide this series will be the anticipation of both teams to come up in the clutch. With the Astros having home field advantage, that could become a pivotal factor. If the series shifts to a fifth game, Houston could prevail at home. Home field advantage is always a factor in October baseball. Houston just has to overcome their recent failures in the post-season and they could end up in the ALCS. The Astros winning this series would bring relief to the city of Houston as they recover from Hurricane Harvey.
Boston on the other hand will have to get crucial hits off the Astros’ ace pitchers to have a chance to win this series. The Red Sox can take out Houston with so many talented players. It will take a lot, but it can be done. Boston has always been a strong post-season team. Could this be the year Boston hoists another World Series trophy? Can the Astros bring joy to the city of Houston as it recovers? These questions will be answered beginning on Thursday as the ALDS gets underway in Houston.
Embed from Getty Images