The Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox are two teams that are favorites to make the World Series. This series had a massive audience because people who were watching, wanted to figure out who is the best team in the American League. After the three game conclusion, the Red Sox have found a piece to the lineup, and a major area that causes concern.
Xander Bogaerts has shown Alex Cora and the Red Sox fans that his role batting behind the MVP candidate J.D. Martinez, is perfect for the team. Against the number one ranked best pitching in the MLB, the Astros weren’t able to stop Bogaerts from being productive in this series. He did start off the series slow by going one for four, but that one hit was a moonshot over 432 feet. Then he began to heat up; second game of the series he went three for four with another long ball. On Sunday night, he was perfect with four hits in four at bats and an RBI. Compared to last year, his numbers are exceptional. Hitting .291 with 21 home runs and close to 100 RBIs. He has proven to be the cleanup man behind the possible winner of the American League MVP.
At home, the Red Sox couldn’t show the world why they were meant to be recognized as the favorites to win. The issue at hand for the team is the uncertainty of the bullpen being effective in the postseason. New York Yankees have Dellin Betances, Astros have Héctor Rondón, but who do the Red Sox have other than Craig Kimbrel? In the game of baseball, you need multiple people that can hold runners and keep the lead to then give the game to the closer. The Red Sox appear not to have that man that when he begins to warm up in the bullpen, the opposing teams begin to worry and not want to face. Matt Barnes has just been sidelined with a left hip inflammation. Joe Kelly, along with Ryan Brasier, gave up a Red Sox lead against the Astros (2-0) and that led to a loss in the first game of the series. On the other hand, the Astros clearly showed that there are there is not just one man in that multiple bullpen that can produce in tight situations. With bases loaded, the Red Sox looked as if they were going to blow the game wide open in the bottom of the eighth inning. However, Tony Sipp shut down the opportunity and showed the world, the Astros are currently leading the MLB in bullpen earned run average for a reason (2.92). Boston’s bullpen has an ERA of 3.47.
The Red Sox did get the last lick by having a walk off hit by Mitch Moreland, giving the Boston fans something to cheer about. Although that win might have brought smiles to people’s faces, but those smiles are not fooling anyone. The Red Sox currently have the best record and will finish this season with the top record, but after this past weekend, if the bullpen of Boston can’t improve in the postseason, will they make it to the World Series and get past the Astros?