Here are five reasons why the Houston Astros will defeat Oakland in the ALDS.
The much-anticipated ALDS matchup between the Houston Astros and the division rival Oakland A’s begins Monday, and as we’ve discussed, there’s no shortage of storylines and intrigue in this series. It’ll be a hard-fought matchup, but here are five reasons why the Astros will emerge victorious.
Been There Before
This isn’t this team’s first rodeo. The Astros have been to three straight ALCS and are looking to make it four. These players are battle-tested and are proven champions, and they don’t shy away from the big moments.
Oakland, meanwhile, just won its first postseason series since 2006, and they did it against a White Sox team that collapsed down the stretch and should be looking for a new manager. Most of these players don’t have anything close to the playoff experience the Astros have.
When it comes down to it, the Astros simply have more talent on their roster. The A’s are missing arguably their best player, third baseman Matt Chapman, and hit only .225 as a team this season. They were 10th in the AL in OPS, 14th in batting average and eighth in runs scored. The Astros were better in all of those categories.
The A’s have some talented players in their lineup, but the Astros simply have much more, even if they’ve underperformed of late. Oakland does have an edge in the bullpen, but I’d give Houston a slight edge in the rotation as well. If talent is the deciding factor, Houston is the clear winner.
Chip on Shoulder
The A’s certainly have something to prove. They’re wanting to show they’re the class of the AL West and that they’re better than the Astros. That’s all well and good, but that’s nothing compared to the chip Houston has on its shoulder.
It’s been an awful year for this team, starting with the revelation of the sign stealing scandal. They’ve endured a hurricane of hatred and ill will, and then dealt with injuries and underperformances galore this season. They’re out to prove they’re the true champions we all know they are.
Location, Location, Location
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The Astros were 3-7 against the A’s in the regular season, and just 1-7 in games played in Oakland. Luckily that won’t be a factor this time as this ALDS is being played at Dodger Stadium, so the regular season record can be thrown out the window.
The location should add a little extra juice as well, as it’s the site of Houston’s triumph in the 2017 World Series. They split the two games they played against the Dodgers there this year even though they were struggling at the time, so this team seems to enjoy playing in this stadium. It’s certainly better than playing in Oakland.
We Didn’t Start The Fiers
While Mike Fiers managed to duck and hide in the regular season, it’ll be hard for him to do so in this ALDS. Unless the series ends quickly, the A’s may be forced to start him, and that can only be good for Houston.
They have the motivation to light him up, of course, but I also like their chances. The Astros torched him to the tune of a 9.39 ERA in five games in 2019, including hitting a whopping 12 homers against him in 23 innings. He also stinks in the playoffs, as he allowed more baserunners than he recorded outs in his start against the White Sox and has a 6.75 career postseason ERA.