Is this too early in the season to call this Red Sox-Astros series a preview of the 2019 American League Championship Series, especially since the Red Sox own just the sixth best record in the American League? Has too much time passed since last year’s American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and the Astros to call this weekend’s series a grudge match for the Astros? No matter what side you take on the two previous questions, it appears there are going to be some fireworks this weekend at Fenway Park.
Astros all-star third baseman Alex Bregman said before the season started that ‘there’s no other city that I would like to beat more than Boston.’ And there is no hitter in baseball more capable of playing a major role in doing just that as Bregman is on a roll with nine home runs in 14 games this month. With that comment about beating Boston, Bregman is likely to hear some fireworks from Red Sox fans.
Fireworks could also come from the bats hitting baseballs. When you have the highest scoring team in baseball through the month of May playing the second highest scoring team during that same time span, you could see the sky lit up with baseballs leaving Fenway Park.
Fireworks could also come in the form of strikeouts. The Astros pitching staff, which has held opponents to the lowest batting average in the majors at .203, has struck out the second most batters in the American League. Red Sox pitchers, who have recovered from a slow start, have struck out more batters than any team in baseball.
Both teams are on a tear with the Astros winning their last eight games and 11 of their last 12, and the Red Sox winning 12 of their last 15 games, including Wednesday night’s fireworks courtesy of rookie Michael Chavis’s extra inning walk-off rbi single. Chavis, who makes baseball’s minimum of $555,000, is third on the team in hitting at .296 with seven home runs and 21 RBI in just 22 games. He has had more than his share of offensive fireworks so far this season.
Most of the Red Sox line-up has overcome their early season drought, led by reigning MVP Mookie Betts who has recently raised his batting average 100 points, but the Astros offense may be one of the best assembled – ever. They lead the major leagues in seven categories including batting average at .282, which is a staggering 17 points higher than any other team in baseball.
So all signs point to the Astros offense most likely to be in charge of this weekend’s fireworks. But then again, that’s what a lot of people said going into last year’s American League Championship Series when the Red Sox pitching staff dampened the fuse of the Astros offense. The rest, as they say, is history with the Red Sox taking control of the ultimate fireworks celebration after beating the Dodgers in the World Series.