Red Sox vs Astros: How ALDS opponents match up
Just wandering around Fangraphs in this category does not give this Red Sox fan comfort. The Astros are simply an offensive machine – the very best in the league with a cumulative 32.6 fWAR with Boston checking in with a 17.7 fWAR. But checking out the various sundry categories it is not even close.
The Astros led the league in almost every major offensive category from batting average (.282) to the more intricate metrics such as wOBA (.349), wRC+ (121) and ISO (.197). If you wish to find a negative they only hit 238 home runs to finish second to the Yankees (240) and their .309 BABIP fell one-point shy of first.
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The lineup is simply loaded top to bottom. What is even more depressing if you are a pitcher is they are the least likely team to strikeout with a 17.3 K%. But they do walk less than the Red Sox with an 8.1 BB% – no doubt when you hit like they do why bother with a walk? Even with speed, the Astros are no lethargic group with 97 steals – just behind Boston.
Boston’s offense is one that is certainly not what fans are used to seeing with the last-place finish in home runs. Boston certainly is no pushover, but the offense is just middle of the pack in the American League. Is there really any hitter that instills the fear David Ortiz did?
The Red Sox had no .300 hitters this season and Houston has four, including batting champion Jose Altuve. Houston has strength off the bench, good contact hitters, and a world of power. Boston lacks all of that in a comparison. Boston’s bench is degraded by the possible absence of Eduardo Nunez. A healthy Nunez would go a long way in balancing the scales.
Houston plays well on the road. Make that exceptionally well on the road with a record of 53-28. Their run differential is +196 and in one-run games, they are 19-13. Boston is 22-19 in one-run games, but where Boston excels is extra innings going 15-3 to Houston’s 4-4.
Houston is just superior to Boston in an offensive comparison. The hope for Boston is the old baseball adage that pitching dominates and Boston does have pitching.