The Astros received the World Collection in 2017 and the Crimson Sox adopted swimsuit in 2018. Then, in fact, each the Astros and Crimson Sox had been caught and punished (to sure extents) for sign-stealing scandals.
And right here they’re in 2021, combating for a spot within the World Collection once more.
That’ll be a subject of dialog in the course of the first few video games of the ALCS, however it would have little or no affect — OK, zero affect — on the precise video games.
Crimson Sox vs. Astros odds for the ALCS
(Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook)
Unfold: Astros -1.5
Moneyline: Astros -152, Crimson Sox +128
The Astros went 5-2 in opposition to the Crimson Sox this season. Each sequence resulted in June. Houston went 3-1 at residence and 2-1 at Fenway Park in Boston. The Astros, because the NL West champs, have home-field benefit for this sequence over the wild-card Crimson Sox.
Crimson Sox vs. Astros all-time sequence
Boston holds an all-time 34-29 edge on Houston in regular-season play. Houston performed within the NL till the 2013 season. The Boson franchise has been within the AL since 1901.
The Crimson Sox and Astros have met twice within the postseason, although by no means within the World Collection previous to Houston’s shift to the AL. In 2017, the 101-win Astros knocked off the 93-win Crimson Sox within the ALDS, 3-1. In 2018, the 108-win Crimson Sox bested the 103-win Astros within the ALCS, 4-1.
Three issues to look at
How do the Astros compensate for Lance McCullers’ absence?
As of Friday morning, there isn’t any official phrase on his standing, however even when he’s on the roster, he could be restricted. Little doubt, McCullers is necessary. He was the most effective starter within the common season and allowed only a single run in 10 2/3 innings in opposition to the White Sox within the ALDS. So, yeah, if he’s out or restricted, that looks like an issue. However the Astros have pitching choices. Zack Greinke — the long run Corridor of Famer — might get a begin or veteran Jake Odorizzi might step in. Neither is McCullers, however both might give Houston 5 or 6 stable innings with sufficient run prevention for the Astros’ offense to maintain the remaining. It’s value noting, most likely, that McCullers didn’t begin any of the seven video games vs. Boston.
How will the Crimson Sox use Tanner Houck?
Houck, a rookie right-hander, saved Boston’s season within the ALDS. It may need been overshadowed with the avalanche of runs his teammates scored within the remaining three video games vs. the Rays. Tampa Bay received the primary recreation and scored 5 runs within the first inning of Recreation 2. The sequence seemed destined to be a catastrophe for the Crimson Sox. Enter Houck, who shut down the Rays on solely two hits and one run over 5 innings, permitting his crew to catch its collective breath and mount a comeback. Will Houck get a begin? Will he keep in that piggyback position if a starter falters?
How do the Crimson Sox strategy Houston’s hitters?
The Astros led the majors in runs scored this 12 months, then averaged practically eight runs per recreation within the ALDS in opposition to a White Sox employees that allowed the fewest runs of any American League crew. Boston pitchers, alternatively, allowed extra runs than some other playoff crew, and it wasn’t even shut (77 greater than the Cardinals and 113 greater than the White Sox). How deep is the lineup? Carlos Correa, the All-Star shortstop who’s going to land an enormous free-agent deal this offseason, batted No. 6 within the Houston lineup the primary two video games of the ALDS.
Stats that matter
6.00 and .300. That’s the Boston crew ERA in seven video games in opposition to the Astros this season and Houston’s crew batting common in opposition to Crimson Sox pitchers this 12 months. In these seven video games, Houston batters hit 9 residence runs and scored 42 instances, posting a .386 on-base share and .884 OPS. That’s mainly Freddie Freeman’s 2021 season (he was .393 and .896).
Crimson Sox vs. Astros prediction
Little doubt about it, these Crimson Sox gave off sturdy “crew of future” vibes within the ALDS, getting back from down a recreation and trailing 5-2 after the primary inning of Recreation 2 to beat the 100-win Rays. However can they preserve that magic going in opposition to an Astros squad that has a relentless lineup, filled with boppers and “skilled” hitters? It’s arduous to see the Crimson Sox pitching holding up over the lengthy best-of-seven grind.
Prediction: Astros in 6.