If Boston Red Sox can replicate ALDS performance, they will beat Houston

Enrique Hernandez #5 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Enrique Hernandez #5 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox weren’t supposed to make it this far this season. After being pegged as a fringe Wild Card contender heading into the season, they got off to a blistering start, only too collapse in the second half. They barely hung onto the top Wild Card spot, and weren’t really expected by many to beat the New York Yankees to move onto the American League Division Series.

Yet they did, and in dominating fashion too. Boston set themselves for a five game series against the Tampa Bay Rays, who were the top team in the American League. Tampa generally had their way with Boston during the regular season, and were seen by many as the team to beat in the American League.

But the Sox dispatched them in four games to move onto the American League Championship Series, with their next opponent being the Houston Astros. Nobody expected the Red Sox to be playing baseball this late in October when the season started, or even when the playoffs started. Now they find themselves just four wins away from their first World Series appearance since they won the whole thing back in 2018.

Make no mistake though, this is going to be an absolute battle for Boston, and it may be one they end up not prevailing in. They will be underdogs heading into the series, and rightfully so considering Houston’s recent winning pedigree.

That won’t matter though. The Sox weren’t expected to beat the Rays, and they did. If they can replicate their ALDS performance against Houston, the Red Sox will find themselves back in the World Series with a chance to win it all.

The Boston Red Sox cannot be ruled out in their ALCS matchup

I won’t lie, I initially didn’t think the Boston Red  Sox had much of a shot against the Rays in the ALDS. Tampa was fresh off a World Series appearance last season, and somehow only managed to get stronger despite losing some of their best players since then. But Boston picked a good time to get hot, and if it weren’t for some late inning bullpen shenanigans, the series wouldn’t have been as close as it was.

Despite that, it’s always felt like the American League was still Houston’s to lose. This is their fifth straight ALCS appearance, and while that’s only translated to one World Series victory for the Astros, they never go down without a fight.

Just last season, the ‘Stros barely qualified for the playoffs, but found themselves in the ALCS matched up against the Rays. Even then, after finding themselves down 3-0 against Tampa, they rallied back to force a Game 7, and very nearly pulled of the second comeback from a 3-0 deficit in MLB history. This all goes without mentioning they were still dealing with the ramifications from their sign-stealing scandal, making their feat all the more impressive.

As much as baseball fans don’t want to admit it, the Astros as just good. This series will be a rematch of the 2018 ALCS that saw Boston end Houston’s season in just five games. You can bet Houston will be looking for revenge for that series, setting the stage for a very compelling matchup.

Both these teams aren’t the same super power teams they were in 2018, but at first glance of the rosters, it’s clear Houston boasts more talent. The same could be said about the Rays, but that didn’t matter to the Boston Red Sox. They didn’t let the outside noise affect their performance, and they will need to do that again if they want to prevail against the Astros.

The Sox did everything right in their series against Tampa Bay, and that will need to carry over to this series against hitting. They got timely hitting when they needed it the most, the pitching, whether it was the starters or the bullpen, delivered when called upon, and manager Alex Cora generally made the right moves when needed to ensure his team would come out on top.

Compared to Tampa, Houston has a much more dangerous lineup. Their core of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman still remain in place, and are as dangerous as ever. Their pitching staff isn’t as strong as Tampa’s was, but that doesn’t mean they still aren’t dangerous. Their starters struggled for the most part against the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS, but their bullpen did a great job at coming in and quieting a potent Chicago lineup.

Basically, this series will pit two high powered offense with questionable pitching against each other. Boston had just the right blend of a dominant lineup and some huge bullpen outings to be able to squeak by Tampa Bay last time around. The recipe won’t change with their upcoming ALCS bout.

Top 5 performances from Red Sox ALDS victory. dark. Next

Houston will be favored to win this series, but don’t count out Boston just yet. They have yet to lose a postseason series under Cora’s watch, and if there’s anyone who knows how the Astros work, it’s Cora.

For a team that wasn’t even expected to be a playoff team coming into the season, you can’t ask for much more than this. While it’s easier said than done, if the Boston Red Sox can replicate their ALDS performance in the ALCS, they will have a very good shot at advancing to their first World Series since 2018.