CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 08: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros celebrates defeating the Cleveland Indians 11-3 in Game Three of the American League Division Series to advance to the American League Championship Series at Progressive Field on October 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

With the ALCS beginning Saturday night, fans of both the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros will begin a nerve-racking series. If the regular season and the ALDS are anything to go by, we are in for a thrilling ride in this years American League Championship Series.

2018 ALCS Preview

Best Teams in Baseball

This year’s penultimate series sees the two best teams in baseball go head-to-head. Instead of a limited five-game series which was seen last year between these two teams, 2018 will see the improved Red Sox look for revenge against the team which eliminated them from the playoffs last year. However, the Red Sox have come a long way since this time last year.

The Red Sox franchise record-breaking season saw the Boston side record 108 wins. However, this is only five more than Houston was able to win. It is clear the talent was there in Boston, but with the additions of big-hitting J.D. Martinez and former Astros assistant Alex Cora, the Red Sox have taken their performance to the next level in 2018.

The emergence of Gerrit Cole as an ace in Houston has cemented the Astros rotation as the most dominant staff in the majors. This will be the biggest obstacle for Boston, but, their line up will not be too bad either. The likes of 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve and 2017 World Series MVP George Springer headline a terrific Astros team, both at bat and in the field.

A Real Heavyweight Clash

This series really will be the most stacked clash this season in terms of talent. Two star-studded lineups, including the best rosters in baseball, go to work. Mookie Betts and Martinez will remain the key players for the Red Sox. Martinez already has six post-season RBI to his name, dominating the New York Yankees pitchers in the ALDS. Betts’ firepower will also remain vital.

The ALDS saw Boston show what they are capable of when it matters. Game 3 saw them demolish the Yankees 16-1, courtesy of Cora’s terrific management skills. Cora brought in Brock Holt, who went 4-6 with 5 RBI, hitting for the first cycle in post-season history. Christian Vazquez also brought contact from the catcher spot, and Rafael Devers chipped in with an RBI of his own. Chris Sale was dominant in his outing in Game 1, pitching five and a third innings with eight strikeouts and only two earned runs. Others will have to perform well out of the rotation and the bullpen, and Game 2 will be huge for David Price.

The other ALDS saw the Astros sweep the Cleveland Indians, including an 11-3 win to clinch the series. That game saw Marwin Gonzalez and Carlos Correa combine for 6 RBI. The Red Sox will need to be wary of the Astros, as their line up has virtually no weakness. Along with their terrific infield defensive ability and Springer commanding the outfield, there will be no room for error during this series, which is likely to be dominated by pitching performances.

Announced Match-Ups

Game 1 – Chris Sale vs. Justin Verlander

Game 2 – David Price vs. Gerrit Cole

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