The Red Sox are looking more and more like the opponent for the Astros in the ALDS.
The Houston Astros have four games left in the 2017 regular season. After demolishing Rangers pitchers with 37 runs scored, the Astros will face the Red Sox to close out the season. With Houston already clinching one of the top two seeds in the American League, they still want to win.
The Red Sox are unable to catch-up to the Astros, will now focus on getting ready to play in the ALDS. Will they play the Astros or the Indians? That will be decided over the next four games as Houston trails the Indians by 1.5 games for the number one seed in the American League. As Brian McTaggart tweeted, the chances of catching the Indians is getting more unlikely by the day.
The Indians won again today!
The Indians are the one team that the Astros would not face until the ALCS. Should the Astros pass the Indians, they would face the winner of the Wild-Card game between the Yankees and the Twins. If they finish second, they would face the Red Sox. What should we root for over the next four days?
For a while, I thought that possibly taking on the Wild-Card winner would be the best choice. The Astros would matchup well versus the Twins and they have handled the Yankees this year. Dallas Keuchel has also dominated them in the 2015 Wild-Card game. However, the Yankees pitching staff is much deeper than the young Twins staff behind Ervin Santana.
Should we be scared of the Yankees?
Then you have the Aaron Judge factor, who is one of the hottest players in baseball at the moment. To be honest, I think the Yankees are the best option outside of Houston to beat the Indians in the ALDS. Between facing Chris Sale or Luis Severino, the lefty Sale might be the toughest for the Astros to beat. But are you scared of the other Red Sox pitchers?
Peter Gammons wrote an article about the Red Sox injuries and struggles. It was written in the view of the Red Sox, in which he expressed concern over the playoff matchups. Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia are big question marks as the postseason approaches. According to Gammons…
"“A wrist or hand injury to any elite hitter is a concern, especially one like Betts, who has lightning hands on which he relies to use the field, drive the ball and make contact to all fields.” – Peter Gammons."
Should Betts be playing hurt or missing games, this will take a valuable bat out of the Red Sox lineup. Without Pedroia in the lineup, the middle of the order is set up to struggle. Pedroia was able to play in the game last night, so maybe the injury is not as bad as expected.
Gammons also felt that the Red Sox would have bad matchups versus Corey Kluber or Justin Verlander. He also mentions that Drew Pomeranz is approaching an inning limit he hasn’t reached before. Sale also has never pitched a playoff game.
The Red Sox are a good team with their 92-66 record. They are not the slugging team they were in 2016 behind David Ortiz, but they can easily score. It will be interesting to see how both teams play the next four games. The Astros may be facing the Red Sox during the playoffs at the right time. Let’s play ball!
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***