Astros Astound the Red Sox - ALDS Breakdown
The Houston Astros dispatched the Boston Red Sox in four games to move on to the ALCS. The outcome of this series was never doubted in my mind throughout the four game stretch. The Astros were so dominant in games one and two, that I knew they would pull through and finish off the Red Sox.
In game one, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman launched back-to-back home runs off of Chris Sale to set the tone, and the Red Sox were unable to answer back in a sufficient way. The Red Sox’s offense was quelled by Justin Verlander, who threw six innings while allowing just two runs and striking out three. Altuve would follow up his first inning home run with two more, and had a total of three home runs on the day. He was the first player to hit three home runs in a postseason game since Pablo Sandoval in 2012, and Justin Verlander started that game too, but I have a feeling he enjoyed this performance more than he did Sandoval’s. The final score of game one was 8-2, and the Astros took a 1-0 series lead.
In game two, Carlos Correa gave the Astros an early lead with a two-run shot in the bottom of the first inning. The Red Sox would go on to score one run in the second to bring the game within a run, but the Astros just didn’t enjoy the game being that close. The Astros answered back with a home run from George Springer and they would go on to score five other runs before the Red Sox would get another run. The Red Sox were held to just two runs again, thanks to an absolutely masterful performance from Dallas Keuchel, who lasted 5.2 innings of one-run ball while striking out seven. The final score of game two was 8-2, second verse, same as the first.
In game three, the Red Sox extended their season by one day, by beating the Astros 10-3. The game looked like it was going to be all Astros from the start, as they scored three in the first, highlighted by a two-run shot from Carlos Correa. The Astros looked to put the Red Sox away early in this game as there were two men on base for Josh Reddick, and he launched a fly ball to deep right, but Mookie Betts nonchalantly pulled the ball back into the field of play, robbing him of a home run. Mookie’s defense in right field shifted the momentum right into the hands of the Red Sox, who would explode for 10 unanswered runs, and take game 3 with a score of 10-3.
Game four was the deciding game of this series, and the Astros won this game thanks to their timely hitting in the late innings of the game. The game was tied after the first inning, with each team getting a run on the board, but in second inning, George Springer hit an RBI single to put the Astros ahead 2-1. In the fifth inning, in a move that I thought was very questionable, Astros manager A.J. Hinch brought in Justin Verlander for his first career relief outing, and promptly gave up a two-run home run to Andrew Benintendi, which gave the Sox a 3-2 lead. Chris Sale was brought in to pitch for the Red Sox, and looked dominant until the eighth inning, when he gave up a monster home run to Alex Bregman which tied the game. Craig Kimbrel was brought in to relieve Sale, but he too gave up a run, which gave the Astros a lead they would not give up. Carlos Beltran would double in another run in the ninth to provide an insurance run, which the Astros would need. Rafael Devers hit an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the ninth to make it a one run game, but the rest of the offense did nothing, and the Astros won the game 5-4, and won the series in four games.
The story of this series was how dominant the front of the Astros rotation was. Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander proved to be a force to be reckoned with, and they nearly silenced the Red Sox. They combined to pitch 14.1 innings which would help save the bullpen for the ALCS. The Astros offense was incredible over the course of this series, as they were able to score 24 runs, and the top of the lineup for the Astros was ridiculous, whereas the top of the lineup for the Red Sox was rather quiet.
I would also like to state that I accurately predicted the outcome of this series in my piece from October 3rd, when I said: “I think the Houston Astros will win the ALDS in four games.”