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Astros, Red Sox to provide plenty of offensive firepower in ALCS

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CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros reacts after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros reacts after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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 Anytime one can witness two of the top offenses in baseball meet in the postseason, its a treat for any fan.

There are various numbers available to the public to measure a baseball team’s offense. A classic favorite is the slash line, which consists of batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Another fan favorite is on-base plus slugging, which is better known as OPS. Home runs are always cited. Even in today’s advanced analytics movement, runs batted in, otherwise known as RBI, are still commonly referred to by fans and analysts alike. Honestly, those numbers are not a bad place to start, albeit better ones exist. For those who are drawn to more advanced statistics, like myself, metrics like OPS+, wOBA, and wRC+ are excellent choices.

While each metric has its own varying value, there are also inherent flaws which do not capture everything. That said, the existing metrics provide us an opportunity to examine baseball lineups at different angles. So, let’s take a look where the Astros and Red Sox, this year’s participants in the ALCS, compare to each other during the 2018 season.

Batting Average
Astros – .255
Red Sox – .268

On-Base Percentage
Astros – .329
Red Sox – .339

Slugging Percentage
Astros – .425
Red Sox – .453

Home Runs
Astros – 205
Red Sox – 208

Runs Batted In
Astros – 763
Red Sox – 829

OPS+
Astros – 109
Red Sox – 112

wOBA
Astros – .326
Red Sox – .340

wRC+
Astros – 110
Red Sox – 110

At first glance, one could plainly see that the Red Sox had a better offensive season than the Astros in nearly all of the categories listed above. If I could be bluntly honest, I was expecting a comparable level of output from Boston this season. The Red Sox already had Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Andrew Benintendi. They then decide to add slugger, and former Astro, J.D. Martinez from the free-agent market.

The Astros, though, had a bit of a rough time with regression and injuries. Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer have battled injuries and various slumps all season long. Alex Bregman, Tyler White, Tony Kemp, and others thankfully lifted the lineup in the interim. While the numbers are down a bit compared to last season, I also speculate that a change in the actual baseball occurred. One has to wonder if the health didn’t play a major role, how much better would the Houston’s offensive numbers look? Remember by wRC+, their offense was considered one of the best in 2018. The same logic of wRC+ applies to Boston, though.

Next. Astros: Heroes are made in the postseason. dark

This year’s ALCS won’t be lacking for offensive firepower. Both teams are capable of scoring by way of the home runs or simply outhitting the competition. There is little margin for error in this series for the two pitching staffs. We’ve witnessed Houston  make short work of the Indians’ bullpen in the ALDS while the Red Sox capitalized on the Yankees’ mistake of leaving starters in the game too long.

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