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Everything to Know About Red Sox vs Astros in ALCS

Saturday, October 13, 2018


Mookie Betts

The Boston Red Sox are set to face the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series ( ALCS) beginning Saturday night at Fenway Park.

The series brings together the top two teams in the Major Leagues, who combined for 211 wins during the regular season.

The Astros beat the Red Sox four out of seven times during the regular season, and eliminated Boston in the ALDS last season. 

“We know what we are up against, they have some good arms and a good lineup. They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t. They have guys that can put the ball in the seats at any time and so we just have to break that down, try not to give up that big inning,” said Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale during his ALCS press conference on Friday.

To get you ready for the series, GoLocalWorcester breaks down everything that you need to know about the ALCS from key players to the pitching matchups and more. 

See What You Need to Know in the Slideshow Below


Related Slideshow: Everything to Know About Red Sox vs Astros in ALCS - October 2018

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Series Schedule

The ALCS schedule is as follows:

All games will be shown on TBS.  

  • Game 1: Saturday, 10/13, 8:09 PM (Boston)
  • Game 2: Sunday, 10/14, 7:09 PM (Boston)
  • Game 3: Tuesday, 10/16, 5:09 PM (Houston)
  • Game 4: Wednesday, 10/17, 8:39 PM (Houston)
  • Game 5*: Thursday, 10/18, 8:09 PM (Houston) - If Necessary
  • Game 6*: Saturday, 10/20, 5:09 PM (Boston) - If Necessary
  • Game 7*: Sunday, 10/21, 7:39 PM (Boston) - If Necessary
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Red Sox vs Astros

The Red Sox and Astros met seven times during the regular season with Houston winning four of the seven matchups. 

In the regular season, Houston outscored the Red Sox 34-31. 

Houston also eliminated the Red Sox in the ALDS last season, winning the playoff series 3-1 on their way to winning the World Series against the Dodgers just a few weeks later. 

Combined, the Red Sox and Astros put up 211 wins this season, Boston with 108 and Houston with 103. 

The only postseason series ever with more regular-season wins is the 1998 World Series between the Yankees and the Padres. They combined for 212. 

PHOTO: Houston Astros 

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Starting Pitching

The projected pitching matchups are as follows: 

Game 1: Justin Verlander vs. Chris Sale

Sale finished the season with a record of 12-4 and a 2.11 ERA after missing multiple starts due to injury. 

In the ALDS against the Yankees, Sale pitched 6.1 innings and gave up two earned runs in Boston's 5-4 win. 

“He’s been ready. Game one, last year, in the division series wasn’t a good one for him, but instead of taking it as a negative, he learned from it," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora during his press conference on Friday.

Verlander finished the year with a record of 16-9 and a 2.52 ERA. 

In his ALDS start against the Indians, he went 5.1 innings and gave up two earned runs. 

Game 2: Gerrit Cole vs. David Price

Price finished the season with a record of 16-7 with an ERA of 3.58. 

However, he has never won a postseason start in his career and against the Yankees in the ALDS, he lasted just 1.2 innings and gave up three runs. 

"My main goal is to win in the playoffs, to win a World Series. Whatever I need to do to help us do that, I'm fine with. But I know I'm more than capable of winning games as a starter in October. That's what I look forward to doing,” said Price in his post-game press conference.

Cole finished the season with a record of 15-5 and a 2.88 ERA. 

In his start against the Indians in the ALDS, he went seven innings and gave up just one run.

Game 3: Rick Porcello vs. Dallas Keuchel

Porcello finished the regular season with a record of 17-7 and an ERA of 4.28. 

In the ALDS against the Yankees, Porcello went 5.2 innings and gave up one run in game four to help the Red Sox clinch the series. 

Keuchel went 12-11 this season for the Astros with an ERA of 3.74. 

In the ALDS against Cleveland, he went five innings and gave up two runs to help Houston advance. 

Game 4: Nathan Eovaldi vs. Charlie Morton

After coming to the Red Sox from Tampa Bay, Eovaldi went 3-3 with Boston and posted an ERA of 3.33. 

In his ALDS start against the Yankees, he pitched seven innings and gave up one run 

Morton went 15-3 in the regular season with an ERA of 3.13. 

He has not pitched a game yet in this postseason. 

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When it comes to the bullpens, the Astros have a decided advantage over the Red Sox. 

In Houston's ALDS series against Cleveland, the bullpen held the Indians to one run and four hits, while striking out nine batters and issuing three walks in 9 2/3 innings. 

Houston's go-to guys are Ryan Pressly, Lance McCullers Jr., and Roberto Osuna, while Tony Sipp and Josh James are also weapons. 

The Red Sox bullpen had the fourth-best ERA in the American League during the regular season. 

However, in the playoffs, it has been a different story. 

In 17 innings pitched, the Red Sox have a 3.71 ERA and have issued 11 walks while striking out 17 hitters.

Boston's bullpen nearly blew a 5-0 lead in game one of the ALDS against the Yankee and then closer Craig Kimbrel nearly blew a 4-1 lead in the ninth inning of game four. against New York. 

Expect to see Matt Barnes and Ryan Brazier used as set up men to Kimbrel with Joe Kelly and Brandon Workman mixed in depending on the situation. 

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Key Players - Houston

The key players in the Astros lineup are center field George Springer, second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman and left fielder Marwin Gonzalez. 

Springer is the hottest of the above players, going 6-for-14 with three home runs in the series against Cleveland. 

Gonzalez when 7-of-13 with five RBIs, while Bregman went 5-for-9 with two home runs in the series. 

Carlos Correa went 1-for-10 in the ALDS, but his last at-bat was a three-run home run. 

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Astros Player to Watch

A player to watch for Houston is second baseman Jose Altuve. 

Altuve has struggled so far this postseason, but if and when he gets going, he gives the Astros a huge spark offensively.

So far in the postseason, 4-for-14 at the plate with two RBIs, one home run and a batting average of .286.

“Individually, I think I could do better, a lot of up and down for me this year, but we are here in the playoffs and so it is an opportunity for me to redeem myself,” said Altuve in his Friday press conference.

In last season's ALDS against Boston, Altuve dominated Red Sox pitching, going 8-for-15, with three home runs for a batting average of .533. 

In his playoff career (6 series), Altuve is batting 270 overall and .320 in the ALCS.

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Key Players - Red Sox

The key players in the Red Sox lineup include right fielder Mookie Betts, left fielder Andrew Benintendi, DH JD Martinez, and utility player Brock Holt. 

“We have a great offense and a great lineup. We do our homework too, so I think it is going to be a great battle," said Martinez during his Friday press conference. 

In the ALDS, Martinez went 5-for-14 with a three-run home run in game one against the Yankees. 

Benintendi went 4-of-14 with three RBIs and three walks against the Yankees for a batting average of .286. 

With Mitch Moreland likely to miss time due to injury, Holt will likely play first base for the Red Sox. 

In the one game that Holt started against the Yankees, he became the first player to ever hit for the cycle in the postseason. 

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Boston Player to Watch

Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts is the lead candidate to win the American League MVP, but has struggled so far in the postseason. 

After batting .346 in the regular season, Betts comes into the ALCS batting just .188 with 3 hits in 16 at-bats with two RBIs.

"I guess there is some sense of pressure there, but I have to understand that I can only do what I can do," said Betts during his Friday press conference. 

In his playoff career, Betts has just 10 hits in 42 at-bats for a batting average of .238.

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Cora vs Hinch

The managing matchup is Boston's Alex Cora against Houston's A.J. Hinch. 

Cora was Hinch's bench coach in Houston last season helping to lead the Astros to a World Series title. 

"Hopefully, I learned something from them that is going to make a difference in one of the four games we want to win. If that happens, well then being familiar with them really helped, but it doesn't guarantee anything," said Cora. 

In his first managing job, Cora led the Red Sox to a franchise record 108 wins and their first playoff series win in several years. 

Hinch led the Astros to a 103 win season after leading them to a World Series title last season. 

Overall, Hinch is in his fourth season with the Astros after beginning his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks. 


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