With the Yankees facing elimination tonight as they face the American League East champion Boston Red Sox for Game 4, the real question remains, “Can either one of them beat the Astros?”
In this reporter’s opinion, no. The Houston Astros may not have entered the postseason with 108 wins, or with the most home runs by any team in a single season, but they did enter the postseason defending champions. It took close to no time for the Astros to sweep the American League Central Champion Cleveland Indians right out of the postseason. The Astros have it all: pitching to be feared, a deep and heavy bullpen, and arguably the scariest 1-9 hitters in the league.
The Red Sox ended their regular season vs. the Astros with a 3-3 record each taking 2/3 from each other at the other’s home turf. Only two games ended with a score difference greater than 3, and that was an even split. When the Sox came to Houston in June, the Astros won 7-3 on June 1st; the Sox won 9-3 on June 3rd. After that, each game was within 1-3 runs.
The Red Sox have a team that is not to be messed with, but they don’t have what it takes to beat this Houston team. The Astros pitching is much more dominant than the Sox, and the bats are more consistent in Houston as well. You can count on more players in the Astros lineup for a big hit then you in the Sox lineup. Sox fans always find themselves very comfortable when Betts, Benintendi, or Martinez come to bat, but always find themselves praying for the rest to get a hit, with the exception of Brock Holt, who continues his hot streak and became the first hitter in MLB history to hit for the cycle in a postseason game last night. In Houston, take your pick. George Springer is back in playoff mode, and is continuing his WS MVP ways into this postseason. You can always count on Altuve or Correa to get you a hit and the MVP finalist Alex Bregman refuses to get cold. The list continues with Gonzalez, Gurriel, White Reddick, and Gattis off the bench; you never know who to fear more. I believe the outcome of a Red Sox V Astros ALDS would be Houston in 6.
The Yankees ended their season series against the Astros with a 5-1 record. They always seem to play the Astros strong, sweeping them in Houston and then taking 2/3 from them in New York. So a Yankees and Astros series would be something to talk about, right? No. The way the Bombers have been playing in this ALDS is nothing to brag about and lots of work has to be done. If they do manage to come back and send the Red Sox packing, they will have to do a lot of work to be able to take down this Astros team.
Yankee pitching has been practically AA-ball this postseason and the Sox are taking full advantage. As I previously stated, there are only three everyday players that you always worry about in the Sox lineup. If the Yankees pitching can get beat up by the entire lineup of Boston, what do you think the best 1-9 in baseball is going to do to them? The Yankees could still find a way to put up a fight with the Astros just like they did last season, the only problem is, the regular season Yankees got lucky and never had to face Astros Cy Young-candidate Cole. The Yankees continue to struggle against Justin Verlander, but have found a hole in the Houston bullpen. This postseason the Houston bullpen has been flawless. I believe a Yankee Vs. Astros series would also be Houston in 6. No matter which team wins this division series, I think they lose to the Astros in the ALCS. It looks like another World Series is in Houston’s future.
Photo: Houston Chronicle