The Astros rarely have entered a post-season where they were favored in any series. But they sure should be favored to win this time against the Red Sox. You doubt that? Here are ten reasons they will emerge victorious in this series.
- JV. No not the Junior Varsity like ISIS. Justin Verlander has been an excellent pitcher for over a decade, but the last month since joining the Astros he has lifted his performance and theirs to another level. He has been a perfect 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA since joining the Astros in the days right after Hurricane Harvey.
- Just win baby. The Astros have won 101 games this season, while the Sox have won 93. Well, that would be more.
- Road Warriors. The Astros are tied for the best road record in the majors with the Indians at 53-28. The Sox were a good, but not good enough 45-36.
- They’re so offensive. The Astros were first in the MAJORS in runs scored (896), doubles (346), BA (.282), OBP (.346), OPS (.823) and 2nd in HRs (238). The Sox – .258 BA (12th), .329 OBP (11th), .736 OPS (22nd), 785 runs (10th), 302 doubles (7th), and 168 HRs (27th) were not in the same zip code.
- They are so deep. The Astros have six players in the top 24 in batting average in the AL, from Jose Altuve‘s .346 down through Josh Reddick, Marwin Gonzalez, Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman to George Springer‘s .283. They also have five players in the top 25 in OPS from Altuve’s .957 down to Bregman’s .827. If Carlos Correa had 21 more ABs his .315 BA and .941 OPS would be up there too.
- Resiliency. They played big chunks of the season with the following guys on the DL at one time or another and many times together, Collin McHugh, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., Charlie Morton, Will Harris, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Brian McCann, Evan Gattis and Jake Marisnick. And they still came within an eyelash of the best record in the majors.
- Health. Despite that laundry list of injuries, the only concerns right now are Reddick’s back which is expected to be healed by tomorrow’s game and Marisnick’s fractured thumb which will not allow him to play in this series.
- Putting it in Play. The Astros struck out the least in the majors this season with 1087 Ks. That is 67 less than the next best team and 137 better than the Sox.
- The Beard. When your second best starting pitcher is Dallas Keuchel, who won the Cy Young two years ago and pitched that well for most of 2017 and who was nails in the playoffs in 2015 (in games he started…) then you have two aces.
- The Grey hairs in the other beards. In 2015, the Astros were good but very young and green. This time around their own base is experienced (Altuve, Correa, Springer, Gattis) and they have added experience with McCann, Reddick, Verlander, Francisco Liriano, Carlos Beltran and experienced “rookie” Gurriel.
It’s your turn. Why do you think the Astros will take this series?