Who wins AL Divisional Series: Boston Red Sox or Houston Astros? | The Tylt
With the AL Wild Card settled, MLB fans can toast to the beginning of playoff baseball. Next on the docket is the AL Divisional Series, one of which pits the Boston Red Sox against the Houston Astros. The Red Sox don’t have the hitting they had last year but do have a solid pitching staff that can carry them. But the Houston Astros are a complete team, with a great hitting lineup. Who advances? ⚾
Who wins AL Divisional Series: Boston Red Sox or Houston Astros?
Without David Ortiz, the Boston Red Sox offense lost their explosive mojo. However, they still find themselves in the playoffs with a solid offense that can show up when the Red Sox need it most. The team is an astounding 15-3 in extra-inning games this season. That kind of toughness will carry them past Cleveland.
Boston's pitching has been their strength this year, and a solid rotation should get them wins in the playoffs. Here is Sports Illustrated with the low down:
In Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz, they have an excellent one-two punch in the rotation, albeit not the one that they anticipated on a roster that included 2012 AL Cy Young winner David Price and 2016 winner Rick Porcello. Price's elbow issues limited him to just 11 starts and have consigned him to the bullpen for September and October, but the early returns are excellent: four appearances, 7 2/3 innings, 11 strikeouts and just four baserunners. He'll augment a bullpen that ranks second in the AL in ERA (3.10) and features the league's top closer in Craig Kimbrel, owner of a 1.43 ERA, 16.4 strikeouts per nine, and a 9.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In his last 23 games, he's whiffed 45 of 89 batters while allowing just three runs.
The Astros started the season hot, going 42-16 before injuries cooled them off. Now, they enter the postseason healthy, and ready to show what their talented roster can do. No team can match up against Houston's hitting or pitching, and Boston will be its first victim.
Houston made a big trade for pitcher Justin Verlander, but it has been the team's offense that has carried the load. Sports Illustrated has more:
Their offense...led the league in runs per game (5.54), batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.346) and slugging percentage (.479).The team's slugging percentage is MLB’s highest since 2003, and their 128 OPS+—OPS adjusted for ballpark and league scoring environments—is a post-1900 record, bettering the 1927 Yankees’ 127. Only two postwar teams, the 1976 Reds and 1982 Brewers even reached 120, which is to say 20% more productive than average.