Red Sox need to keep the bats swinging against Astros
Heading into Friday’s ALCS Game 1 against the Astros in Houston, the Boston Red Sox are the best team from the batter’s box this postseason.
Boston leads all of the remaining playoff teams with a .328 batting average and 11 home runs. The Red Sox have 32 RBIs off a total of 63 hits. Boston currently leads each of these individual hitting categories.
As impressive as these numbers are, the Red Sox will need to be even better in the ALCS. During the regular season, Boston took the field against Houston seven times and won just two games. The Astros outscored the Sox 42-25 during the seven-game span.
I know, I know. That was then, and this is now. Boston has been hot, and I mean red hawt. The Sox won the ALDS with eight players batting at least .300, led by J.D. Martinez, who has hit .467 this postseason.
As impressive as these numbers are, Friday begins a new series. It will be 0-0, and the Red Sox need to leave Houston with at least a split before the series heads back to Fenway. While I’m not willing to say it’s the only way the Red Sox will win the ALCS, it sure would help. Boston will have to be productive with the wood if this is going to happen.
As I mentioned earlier, Boston took the field against the Astros seven different times during the 2021 regular season. The first four-game series was played in Houston from May 30-June 3. The Red Sox dropped the first three games by scores of 11-2, 5-1, and 2-1. However, they were able to avoid being swept by winning the final game 5-1.
During the first three losses, Boston was good for a combined 17 hits, with seven of them in the third game. In the Red Sox one win in the final game, they had eight hits. No, one hit isn’t a significant difference. Still, my point is, Boston won the game they were able to get the most hits in.
The teams then played three games at Fenway from June 8-10. Different ballpark, but same results. The Red Sox were only able to win the third game of the series by a final score of 12-8. Boston dropped the first two games, 7-1 and 8-3.
During the first two games in which Boston lost, they had a combined 10 hits, six in the first game. The Red Sox had 14 hits in the final game that they won. Again, same exact scenario. When the Sox were able to get on base, they won the game.
For the record, Houston pitchers threw at least 11 strikeouts in four of the seven games and had nine in two others.
The Houston Astros were able to make light work of Chicago in the ALDS, winning in four games. In the Astros’ three wins, the final scores were 6-1, 9-4, and 10-1. Houston lost game three 12-6.
Let’s not even try and beat around the bush. The Astros aren’t the best pitching team in the postseason. They have allowed 18 earned runs on 41 hits. As a team, Houston has a 4.63 ERA. They have only thrown 39 strikeouts since the end of the regular season, 18 fewer than the Red Sox. Even with the addition of the Wild Card game for Boston, they have the upper hand. I’ll be honest. Until I started crunching the numbers, I thought the Astros had been throwing the ball better than they have.
But, again, Friday is the start of a new series. It’s 0-0 across the board. The Red Sox have already shown they can have nine hits without scoring a run in the postseason. They have also displayed through the regular season that when they are unable to get on base against the Astros, Houston is going to win.
As elementary as all this sounds, it’s postseason baseball. While I’m confident in the Red Sox pitching staff, they are going to need some help. Especially playing in Houston. If Boston isn’t swinging the bat right out of the gate, this could be a difficult series to win.