- The Astros and Red Sox will meet in the ALCS after combining to win 211 regular season games in 2018
- Will the Astros keep on rolling after sweeping the Indians?
- Can Boston’s rotation rise to the occasion after inconsistent outings against the Yankees?
Does great pitching trump great hitting? We’re about to find out as the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox tangle in the 2018 American League Championship Series.
The Red Sox led the Majors in eight key offensive categories in 2018, while the Astros led both leagues in ERA, strikeouts, quality starts, and BAA. AJ Hinch’s club has been on baseball’s biggest stage before and boasts four aces with an ability to silence Boston’s big bats.
It’s the series baseball fans have been anxiously awaiting since Opening Day and it begins Saturday, October 13th at Fenway Park. We have all the info you need for the ALCS including the series price, schedule, statistical comparisons, and our prediction for which team will advance to the World Series.
Astros vs Red Sox ALCS Odds at Bovada
It should come as no surprise the Astros are heavily favored after they thoroughly dismantled the Indians in the ALDS. Houston outscored Cleveland 21-6 during their three-game series and set or matched a number of records in the process. Gerrit Cole became just the second pitcher in postseason history with 12 strikeouts and no walks in a single game, the Astros broke an American League record by hitting a home run in their 12th consecutive postseason game, and George Springer hit his eighth dinger in nine postseason games, tying him with Reggie Jackson, Jim Thome, and Carlos Beltran for the most homers over that same period.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, just barely escaped New York with a series win. Boston was pounded 6-2 in Game 2 and nearly imploded in the ninth inning of their too-close-for-comfort Game 4 win. Take away their lopsided 16-1 victory in Game 3 and the Red Sox were actually outscored by the Yankees 13-11.
Astros vs Red Sox Statistical Comparison
|+278 (1st)||RUN DIFFERENTIAL||+241 (2nd)|
|.255 (7th)||TEAM BATTING AVERAGE||.268 (1st)|
|205 (10th)||TEAM HOME RUNS||208 (9th)|
|.329 (7th)||TEAM OBP||.339 (1st)|
|.425 (8th)||TEAM SLUGGING||.453 (1st)|
|.754 (7th)||TEAM OPS||.792 (1st)|
|3.03 (1st)||BULLPEN ERA||3.72 (9th)|
The Red Sox were the superior offensive team in 2018, but the Astros hold a sizeable advantage in run differential thanks to their exceptional pitching staff. Their dominance was on full display in the ALDS as Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Dallas Keuchel combined to hold the Indians to five earned runs over three games. The bullpen also did it’s part, limiting Cleveland to just four hits and one earned run in 9.2 innings.
Much of the credit goes to Roberto Osuna and Ryan Pressly, both of whom came over in a pair of midseason trades. Lance McCullers Jr. should also have a chance to shine against the Sox after heading to the pen in late September. He’s a reliable innings eater who could be the second or third starter on most staffs.
It feels like Craig Kimbrel has thrown no fewer than 22,000 pitches
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) October 10, 2018
Boston’s bullpen is another matter altogether. The Red Sox ranked ninth in bullpen ERA in 2018 and gave up seven earned runs in 17 innings against the Yankees. Even Craig Kimbrel looked vulnerable, surrendering two runs and two walks in one inning in Boston’s series clinching win on Tuesday night.
2018 ALCS Schedule
|Game||Date and Time||Location|
|Game 1||October 13th at 8:09 p.m.||Boston|
|Game 2||October 14th at 7:09 p.m.||Boston|
|Game 3||October 16th at TBD||Houston|
|Game 4||October 17th at TBD||Houston|
|Game 5 (If needed)||October 18th at TBD||Houston|
|Game 6 (If needed)||October 20th at TBD||Boston|
|Game 7 (If needed)||October 21 at TBD||Boston|
The ALCS will be broadcast this year on TBS. Consult your local listings for game times.
Astros vs Red Sox Probable Pitching Matchups
|Justin Verlander (16-9, 2.52 ERA, 0.902 WHIP)||Game 1||Chris Sale (12-4, 2.11 ERA, 0.861 WHIP)|
|Gerrit Cole (15-5, 2.88 ERA, 1.033 WHIP)||Game 2||David Price (16-7, 3.58 ERA, 1.142 WHIP)|
The Red Sox will have their hands full on Saturday night when Verlander takes the mound. Last year’s ALCS MVP is 12-6 with a 3.08 ERA in the postseason and hasn’t lost a game since August. Taking the mound for Boston is Chris Sale, who looked like his old self in a pair of dominant outings against the Yankees. The seven-time All-Star will be anxious to redeem himself after going 0-2 with a 8.33 ERA against the Astros in last year’s ALDS.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) October 6, 2018
Game 2 will feature one of baseball’s hottest hurlers against one of October’s biggest disappointments. Cole struck out 12 in seven stellar innings against the Indians, while Price was unceremoniously pulled from his start against the Yankees after coughing up three earned runs in 1.2 innings. The former Cy Young winner is now 2-9 with a 5.28 ERA in 18 postseason appearances.
ALCS Series Prediction: Astros in 6
The Astros are favored for a reason. Houston trounced Boston in the 2017 ALDS and also came out on top of their regular season home-and-home series. They’ve been hotter lately, going 24-6 since September 1st (compared to 18-12 for the Red Sox), and showed positively no signs of weakness against an Indians squad that won 91 games during the regular season.
Boston is still a phenomenal team with a surplus of firepower, but they can’t match Houston’s starting rotation or its vastly improved bullpen. This one will be over in six.