The Houston Astros are leading the American League Championship Series 3-2 against the Boston Red Sox, as both teams will go to Minute Maid Park to decide who advances to the World Series this weekend.
Boston has dropped two games in a row, but that doesn’t mean they are out already.
Is it possible for @RedSox to win two games in Houston? Sure it is. But I don't like their chances. Still, it's not out of the question that, as dramatically as momentum shifted in Boston, it could shift back in Texas. #ALCS
— Jim Donaldson (@JimDonaldsonJr) October 21, 2021
In fact, there are several reasons why they can still steal the series from the Astros.
3. Question Marks Surrounding The Astros’ Pitching
Framber Valdez was absolutely brilliant on the mound the last time these teams faced each other, on Wednesday night.
He was on the mound for eight frames, in which he allowed a single run and struck out five hitters.
However, that doesn’t mean the Astros’ pitching is suddenly elite.
It’s not a bad unit at all, but it can be beat.
Boston will base their chances on this premise: taking good at-bats against the Astros’ pitching, hopefully clogging the bases and presenting run-scoring opportunities for their top hitters.
Luis Garcia will be the starter on Friday for Houston.
He has been battling physical issues during the series, and in the one game he pitched, he allowed five runs in a single inning of work.
Houston will hope he can show his regular season self, where he had a 3.30 ERA in 155.1 innings.
2. They Still Have A Top Offense
The Red Sox may have their backs against the wall at this point, but they still have a top offense.
They may have scored only three runs in the last two games (both losses), but if Houston thinks the likes of Rafael Devers, JD Martinez, Kike Hernandez, Alex Verdugo, Bobby Dalbec, Xander Bogaerts, Hunter Renfroe, and others aren’t dangerous, they are wrong.
Each and every hitter in the Red Sox’s lineup represents a home run threat, even catcher Christian Vazquez.
There will be good pitchers on the mound this weekend, but with these two lineups, there is always a chance the game turns into a slugfest.
Boston hitters will have to do their part and keep mashing with the hope their pitchers can limit the damage and keep them in the game.
1. Eovaldi’s Postseason Heroics
With top fastball velocity, good secondary pitches, excellent command and tons of experience in big games, Nathan Eovaldi is the best pitcher Boston can send to the mound on Friday night to try and even the series at three wins apiece.
Eovaldi’s 2021 postseason ERA of 5.51 is a bit misleading, as he has had a very good 3/21 BB/K ratio.
In fact, he has done very well in the postseason over his career, with a 3.26 ERA in 38.2 innings.
His 0.93 WHIP is more proof that he is a big-game pitcher.
If the Red Sox had to trust a pitcher in their rotation to control the Astros’ offense for a game, they would probably choose Eovaldi.
— Red Sox Dynasty (@RedSoxDynasty_) October 22, 2021
He also had a very good regular season, with a 3.75 ERA in 182.1 innings.
He will want revenge over the Astros, as he was the losing pitcher in Game 4, after allowing four runs in 0.2 innings of work.