Buckle up, folks. The 2018 American League Champion Series has all the makings of being a great one.
The Boston Red Sox, who posted the best regular-season record this campaign with 108 wins, will square off against the defending World Series champion Houston Astros, with the best-of-seven series kicking off Saturday night at Fenway Park.
It will be a matchup of two potent offenses that are capable of lighting up the scoreboard in a hurry. As such, Red Sox star Mookie Betts believes the series ultimately will come down to which team has more success on the mound.
“I think it’s just gonna have to be, obviously, the arms,” Betts told ESPN’s John Anderson on Tuesday. “Both teams can hit. I mean, you saw them when they put up 13, 14 runs and we put up 16 runs. So it’s just one of those things where we’ll see how the arms go. We’ll have to play small ball. I think it’s just every aspect. I think if you show some blemishes in one aspect you’ll be exploited and they’ll find a way to win the game.”
Take a look at the Astros, for example. Of their seven playoff games last season in which they allowed five runs or more, they only claimed victory in two of those contests. Houston’s pitching staff will enter this series with heavy momentum, though, as it limited the Indians to just six combined runs in its three-game American League Division Series sweep of Cleveland.
But the Red Sox have just the man to counter the Astros’ pitching hot streak, as Chris Sale is set to toe the rubber for Boston in Game 1.
Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports