Red Sox vs Astros: How ALDS opponents match up
By Rick McNair
Expect a starter to end up in the bullpen and for the bullpen depth to diminish by at least one pitcher. Usually, teams opt for a position player at the expense of the bullpen. For the season the two teams are relatively close in the statistical department with Boston’s bullpen posting a 6.8 fWAR and Houston a 5.5 fWAR.
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Neither bullpen has a remarkable reliever or two that will get you to your closer. Right-hander Chris Devenski keeps his BB/9 low (2.9) and gets his whiffs (11.2 K/9) and may be the best for both teams with one notable exception – David Price. Price has been phenomenal in his late-season relief appearances.
For the rest of both teams, nothing stands out with Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Luke Gregerson and several others. Neither team has a traditional lefty out of the bullpen who will instill any level of fear in left-handed hitters. Collectively on both team, they are good, but not great. Where the separation happens is closer.
Craig Kimbrel is the best in the league and it is not even a debate. The Astros have Ken Giles and his 34 saves, but Giles – who is excellent – is at a level below Kimbrel – just like everyone else.
Boston has an advantage in the bullpen with Price. A big advantage if September is any indication. They also have an advantage with their closer, but they need to get into a situation where they can use Kimbrel.