The Boston Red Sox are in the spot where they’ve been at their best this year—with their backs against the wall. Boston lost its last two games at Fenway Park to fall behind in the best-of-7 ALCS, three games to two. The Sox now need to sweep two games in Houston to top the Astros and reach the World Series. Let’s see the MLB odds.
Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros
Friday, October 21, 2021 – 8:08 PM EDT at Minute Maid Park
The Houston Astros rallied with two straight wins at Fenway Park to take control of the best-of-seven ALCS, three games to two. The Astros got a strong start from Framber Valdez to give their bullpen a much-needed rest and shut down Boston’s red-hot bats.
Of course, the Red Sox are in the spot where they’ve been at their best this year, with their backs against the wall. Boston was written off in the playoff race after a prolonged slump following the trade deadline. The Sox rebounded and got back into Wild Card position before a late-season sweep at the hands of the Yankees, followed by a disappointing loss to the last-place Orioles seemed to eliminate them again.
Boston swept a season-ending series in Washington, coming from behind in the final game to avoid a play-in for the Wild Card berth, and the Sox have been unstoppable since, until two games ago. Now, the Red Sox needs to sweep two games in Houston to fend off the grim reaper once more and advance to the World Series. The Astros are looking for one win in two home games.
In Search of Offense
After hitting three grand slams in two games to take home-field advantage in the series, Boston’s bats have gone cold the last two. The Red Sox say they just need to get back to fundamentals to find their hitting stroke.
"I've been saying it all along," manager Alex Cora said. "During the playoffs, it's not about getting RBIs or driving the ball out of the ballpark. It's about doing everything possible to win the game, and I'm not saying we're not doing that, but it felt like halfway through Game 4, the approach was a little bit different. There were some empty fly balls, empty at-bats, and that cannot happen in the playoffs.”
The Sox will have their top postseason pitcher on the mound for Game Six in Nathan Eovaldi. He pitched an inning in relief in the Game Four win on his scheduled bullpen throw day, but Eovaldi will be counted on to once again save Boston’s season. He’ll be making his fourth start of this postseason, and the Red Sox have won the previous three, with Eovaldi recording the win in two of them.
One More Good Start
The Astros got their first solid start of the series when Framber Valdez pitched into the eighth inning of Game Five, topping the innings output of Houston’s starters in the four previous games. Now, Houston’s bullpen is in better shape after getting just one inning of work on Wednesday and then benefitting from a travel day on Thursday. Still, the Astros would like to get another solid outing from a starter on Friday night.
Luis Garcia gets the ball. He gave up a first-inning grand slam in Game Two, then left one batter into the second inning with knee discomfort. For the postseason, he’s lasted a total of just 3.2 innings and given up 10 runs on seven hits and six walks. There was talk of dropping him from the roster with the knee problem, but he seems to be recovered.
"My knee is doing really good right now," he said. "I feel really good, like normal.” Just like in Game Two, starter Jake Odorizzi will be available for long relief of Garcia, if necessary.
The Astros have all the momentum at this point and appear to be on their way to rolling past Boston to advance to the World Series. You know what that means in this crazy back-and-forth series—it’s time to go with the Red Sox in a big way. For your MLB picks, look for Boston to force a game seven with yet another clutch win.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.