It’s going to be hard for any series to measure up to the Dodgers-Giants matchup that finished up Thursday but the playoffs move on and there is a series over in the American League that will decide half of the Word Series in 2021.
Boston Red Sox @ Houston Astros
Having already sent the White Sox packing, the Astros take on some Sox of a different color. Both clubs beat the Dodgers in the World Series recently, making the World Series a revenge tour no matter who they play if they handle the Braves.
The Astros have only been in the American League for nine years and this will be the fifth straight ALCS trip for the franchise. They advanced to the World Series twice in the previous four, with one of the losses coming at the hands of these very Red Sox.
Game 1 will feature a pair of lefties on the mound. Chris Sale for the Red Sox and Framber Valdez for the Astros.
Sale is a somewhat surprising pick given the fact that Nathan Eovaldi would be on regular rest and is the best starter the Red Sox have. Not to mention Sale getting beat up in Game 2 of the ALDS by the Rays, giving up five runs in the first inning and not coming back out for the second.
It was just this August that Sale came back from Tommy John surgery after missing the 2020 season altogether. The 32-year-old was 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA in nine starts to end the regular season.
Old friend Kiké Hernández is up to his old tricks in the postseason, going 9-for-20 (.450) with two homers in the ALDS. It was a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth off the bat of Hernandez that clinched the series over the Rays in Game 4 for the Red Sox.
This is the 6th time in the wild card era that teams will enter an LCS averaging at least 6 runs per game that postseason. The last time also involved the Red Sox and Astros in 2018. Boston held Houston to 4.2 runs per game that series to advance in 5 games. pic.twitter.com/H9LkLbxjno— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 13, 2021
Valdez had a solid year for the Astros, going 11-6 with a 3.16 ERA in 22 starts. The Astros also gave him the ball for Game 1 of the ALDS against the White Sox and he gave up four runs on seven hits and a walk over 4 1⁄3 innings.
The Astros will need a quick start to the series with the news that Lance McCullers Jr may not be available for the ALCS.
Teams: Red Sox @ Astros
Time: 5:07 p.m. Pacific on FOX
Pitching: BOS: Chris Sale (5-1, 3.16 ERA)
Hou: Framber Valdez (11-6, 3.14 ERA)