MLB Postseason 2017: Red Sox vs Astros ALDS series preview
By Sean Penney
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- The Red Sox have won consecutive AL East division titles for the first time in franchise history. They now have won the division nine times since the division structure began in 1969.
- Manager John Farrell set a new franchise record with his third division title as manager (2013, 2016, 2017).
- FanGraphs projects the Red Sox to have the lowest odds of the remaining AL playoff teams of reaching the World Series at 17.5 percent. That’s a perplexing gap beneath the Wild Card-winning New York Yankees, who are tied with the Astros at 21.1 percent. Cleveland has by far the best odds at 40.1 percent.
- Houston was third in the AL with a +196 run differential, while Boston was fourth at +117.
- Both teams had identical home records this season at 48-33. However, the Astros were road warriors, tying Cleveland for the most road wins in the league with 53. The Red Sox were a solid 45-36 on the road and won a pair of games in Houston already this season.
- The Red Sox are expecting to get Eduardo Nunez back in the lineup for this series. The versatile infielder missed 20 of the final 22 regular season games with a knee injury but has been deemed ready to return.
- Xander Bogaerts was the most productive hitter in Boston’s lineup against the Astros this year. He was 7-for-23 (.304) with two doubles, two home runs and five RBI in six games against Houston. The only other Red Sox player to hit above .300 or produce an OPS above .950 against Houston was Brock Holt, who went 4-for-8 with a double in limited time.
- Andrew Benintendi joined Ellis Burks (1987) and Nomar Garciaparra (1997) as the only Red Sox rookies with 20 HR and 20 steals in a season.
- Astros outfielder George Springer tied for the league-lead with 34 home runs out of the leadoff spot. His .894 OPS was easily the best among AL leadoff hitters.