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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Red Sox advance to the American League Championship Series

Boston+Red+Sox+logo.
Boston Red Sox logo. Copyright MLB/Red Sox

On Oct. 3, the Boston Red Sox were trailing the Washington Nationals by a score of 51 in the fifth inning. Halfway through that game, it was brought into question whether the Red Sox would end up even being a playoff team. However, the Red Sox showed a sense of urgency and scored six runs in the final four innings to secure a Wild Card spot.
Now two weeks later, the Red Sox have booked a date with the Houston Astros to compete in the American League Championship Series once again. So, how did the Red Sox go from one of the city’s biggest disappointments to being arguably Boston’s best chance at another championship in just a ten-day span?
Bullpen
Going into the playoffs, the Red Sox’s biggest weakness was their bullpen. However, after the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays, it is easy to see that Boston’s bullpen has exceeded expectations through five playoff games. Miraculous performances from Tanner Houck in game two and Nick Pivetta in game three really saved the season for the Red Sox. If this series proved anything, it was that Alex Cora is not afraid to use his starters out of the bullpen, and he will need to continue to do so against a very dangerous Houston Astros team in the ALCS.
Hitting
Going into this season, the only advantage analysts gave to the Red Sox was that they would have a stacked batting rotation. However, no one thought that this batting lineup was going to take this team to the playoffs, let alone the ALCS. With the exception of game one against the Rays where the Sox put up a goose egg, Boston has put up at least six runs in every playoff game, which includes an explosion of 14 runs in game two. This Red Sox team is not built to win with pitching and defense; they are built to demoralize the opposition by putting up a ton of runs. In the regular season, the Rays had the best team ERA in the American League with a 3.67 ERA, and the Red Sox exposed their pitching in the ALDS. The Houston Astros had the fourth best ERA in the regular season with a 3.76 ERA. The Red Sox will have to stay hot against the Astros pitching if they want to make it to the World Series, because it is unlikely that Boston’s pitching will win them this series.
What’s next?
The Red Sox start their series against the Astros on Friday, Oct. 15. The Red Sox will return home for game three and four on Oct. 18 and 19. For the Red Sox’s sake, it is extremely important that they take either game one or two on the road, because the Sox have looked near unbeatable at home in the playoffs. Taking one game on the road and then staying hot while hosting the next three home games is the key for the Red Sox in this series. Houston is not Tampa Bay; the Astros have had a lot of playoff success in the past five years, and they have their eyes set on winning another championship. This will undoubtedly be a much tougher matchup for the Red Sox than the Rays were.

About the Contributor
Jonathan Hopkins, Sports Editor