There's no question the Chicago White Sox were hot after their 12-6 triumph over the Houston Astros on Sunday at home in Game 3. The team looked to carry that momentum through to Monday's Game 4 at Guaranteed Rate Field before the matchup was delayed to Tuesday due to weather in Chicago.
Whether the delay is to be blamed for halting the Sox's momentum or whether the Astros were just really that dominant, Chicago's hopes of staging a comeback in the American League Division Series were thwarted on Tuesday as Houston delivered a 10-1 result. It won the best-of-five series 3-1 and secured its spot in the American League Championship Series to face the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox, thanks in large part to Kiké Hernandez's walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth, secured their spot in the ALCS Monday.
Manager Alex Cora attributed his club's success to playing "fundamental baseball." "Kiké put the ball in the air, old-school baseball right there," Cora said after the win, per ESPN's Joon Lee. "Fundamental baseball, and we won the ALDS playing good, fundamental baseball."
Will the Red Sox's fundamental baseball stand up to the Astros' firepower in this rematch of the 2018 ALCS? After all, Houston, which owns home-field advantage, scored 863 runs to lead the majors this year, while the Sox went just 2-5 in the teams' seven regular-season meetings.
But this scrappy Red Sox team, which many did not expect to make the postseason at all, has hung around and delivered magic moments with their backs against the wall. Can they do it again with the World Series on the line?
Let's take a look at the TV schedule and odds for the ALCS, as well as break down what to watch for when these two teams square off.
ALCS TV Schedule and Odds
Series Odds: Astros -140 (bet $140 to win $100)
Game 1 (Minute Maid Park): Friday, Oct. 15, 8:07 p.m. ET (Fox)
Game 2 (Minute Maid Park): Saturday, Oct. 16, time TBA (FS1 or Fox)
Game 3 (Fenway Park): Monday, Oct. 18, time TBA (FS1)
Game 4 (Fenway Park): Tuesday, Oct. 19, time TBA (FS1)
Game 5* (Fenway Park): Wednesday, Oct. 20, time TBA (FS1)
Game 6* (Minute Maid Park): Friday, Oct. 22, time TBA (FS1)
Game 7* (Minute Maid Park): Saturday, Oct. 23, time TBA (Fox or FS1)
* if necessary
Odds via DraftKings
The full bracket can be viewed at MLB.com.
In addition to having the league's best offense, the Astros pitchers ended the regular season ranked seventh in runs allowed.
Houston went 95-67 in the regular season to capture the AL West crown before defeating the White Sox in four in the ALDS. The Red Sox found themselves tied 92-70 with the arch-rival New York Yankees before dispatching them in the wild-card game and defeating the division-winning Tampa Bay Rays in four games.
Despite the sanctions imposed upon the Astros for their sign-stealing controversy during the 2017 and '18 seasons, the Astros have made the ALCS the last five consecutive seasons. White Sox reliever Ryan Tepera implied after Game 3 of the ALDS that there was a "little bit of a difference" in the Astros' performance at home versus on the road, per AP (via ESPN).
To add to the storyline, which will surely be on repeat throughout the next week to 10 days, the Astros tried to place the blame for the sign-stealing scheme on the shoulders of their bench coach at the time...Alex Cora.
But it won't do the Red Sox any good to be worrying about that when they arrive at Minute Maid Park for Friday's Game 1; the game will be hard enough to win already. The Astros went 51-30 at home this season.
The Astros hit .300/.386/.498 with nine homers and 19 doubles against the Red Sox pitching staff throughout the regular season. By contrast, Boston hit .210 against Houston's pitchers, with 15 doubles and five homers.
For the Red Sox, Nathan Eovaldi would be available to start Friday's Game 1 of the ALCS on regular rest. Chris Sale would be available and rested for Saturday's Game 2.
Prediction: As scrappy and surprising as this Red Sox team has been this season, it's hard to imagine they're able to stave off the powerful Astros, who bested them 5-2 in the regular season and just dispatched a very talented young White Sox team. Expect the Red Sox, especially with a well-rested pitching staff, to give them a run for their money, though. Astros in 6.
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