2021 MLB Playoffs: Astros Vs. Red Sox ALCS Preview, Schedule, & TV Info
Astros, Red Sox, 2021 Playoffs
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

There are just four teams remaining in the hunt for this year’s World Series trophy, three of whom were in this exact spot in 2020. In the American League, the Houston Astros clinched their spot by hitting around one of the better pitching staffs in all of baseball.

Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox pulled off a stunning upset of the Tampa Bay Rays on the backs of their bats. Now, we shift to the ALCS, where there should be absolutely no shortage of offense, as two of the best lineups in the sport face off in a seven-game series.

Astros Preview

The sign stealing scandal of 2017 still hangs over the heads of the Astros, but it hasn’t stopped them from routinely being the best team in the American League. The 2021 ALCS is their fifth consecutive appearance, having won two of the last four.

This year, their team has all the same familiar faces. And yet, this is by far the deepest lineup the Astros have featured in their five-year run. Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel, Yordan Alvarez, Michael Brantley, and Kyle Tucker make up a hugely formidable seven-man wrecking crew.

For this series, they’ll have an extra outfielder in Jake Meyers. However, he’ll be taking the place of Lance McCullers Jr., who is off the roster but on the taxi squad as he deals with forearm discomfort.

The Astros game plan against the Red Sox will be to take advantage of a pitching crew that leaves much to be desired. Yes, Boston will get their runs in, as they too feature an elite offense, but where Houston has the biggest advantage is on the mound.

Red Sox Preview

Just because the Astros appear to be the more complete team on the surface, doesn’t mean the Red Sox are giving up any time soon. Most pundits and predictors had the Rays making quick work of Boston, and yet here they are.

The biggest reason for that — much like the Astros — is their top tier offense. Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez, Kyle Schwarber, Kike Hernandez, Alex Verdugo, Hunter Renfroe, and Christian Vasquez have all left their mark on this team at various times, including some huge hits against the Rays.

Now, the offense will need to continue doing what it does best while the pitching finds some way to slow the Astros down. If they can learn anything from the Chicago White Sox, it’s to avoid the fastball. Houston is absolutely dominant against the fastball, and they showed it against White Sox pitching, turning an elite crew into a shell of themselves for four games.

Offspeed pitches will have to be their friend, and they’ll need to rely on a few unfamiliar faces, as the Red Sox once most reliable bullpen arm — Matt Barnes — is off the ALCS roster entirely.

Prior to the series beginning, the Astros appear to have a surface-level advantage. However, the Red Sox proved in the ALDS that they cannot be counted out so quickly.

Astros (95-67) vs. Red Sox (92-70)

Game 1:
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
Friday, October 15, 5:07 p.m. PT
HOU: Framber Valdez vs. BOS: Chris Sale

Game 2:
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
Saturday, October 16, 1:20 p.m. PT
HOU: Luis Garcia vs. BOS: Nathan Eovaldi

Game 3:
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Monday, October 18, 5:07 p.m. PT

Game 4:
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Tuesday, October 19, TBD

Game 5 (if necessary):
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Wednesday, October 20, TBD

Game 6 (if necessary):
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
Friday, October 22, TBD

Game 7 (if necessary):
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
Saturday, October 23, TBD

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