The American League Division Series (ALDS) has two games on the schedule for tonight. The Houston Astros and the Chicago White Sox meet, while the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox are battling for position, as well. Both games are primed to be contentious, but there are some indicators that are already hinting at clear winners.
ALDS Pits The Astros Against the White Sox
In the ALDS, the Astros and the White Sox are ready to fight in Texas, pitting two of the best MLB lineups against each other. The Astros have struck out in fewer than 20% of their at-bats, the best performance of MLB this year, and their 5.33 runs per game also lead the league. The White Sox are fifth in batting average and third in on-base percentage, but have proven to be better against left-handed pitchers than righties. That stat will become important.
Lance McCullers Jr., a lefty, is starting for the Astros. He has typically performed better at home than on the road; however, this season had a 3.51 ERA in Houston compared to a 2.70 ERA on the road. At home, had two fewer strikeouts per nine innings, while his rate of home runs per nine innings almost nearly doubled.
Houston has made it to the postseason for the fifth consecutive time. The appearance follows a 95-67 record that gave it the AL West division title. The Astros had a regular season +205 run differential, which was the fourth-best in the league.
White Sox Look for Magic
The White Sox easily took the AL Central. They ended the regular season at 93-69 and were the only team to have a winning record in the division. Since the All-Star break, they went 39-34, which indicates that they slipped a little in the home stretch. They can’t afford any slipups now.
The White Sox take the field tonight having scored at least five runs in six of the last seven games, and the Astros are one of only two teams in the playoffs that managed to play more than 50% of their games over the total. That can be expected to continue tonight.
The Astros are getting -130 on the moneyline and are likely to take the win. McCullers is going to prove vital to the win, but, for those who feel lucky, backing the White Sox at +110 is a possibility. The Over/Under is at 8, and it’s hard to imagine less than 9 runs being scored, even if oddsmakers are a little shy. Backing the Over at +100 is a good way to go.
ALDS Action Between the Red Sox and the Rays
The Red Sox took down the New York Yankees in the AL Wild Card game after figuring out how to get Gerrit Cole off the Yankees’ mound. Once that happened, it was smooth sailing for the rest of the game until the 6-2 end. The Red Sox, however, now face an even tougher opponent. This five-game ALDS battle represents the third time these two teams have met in the playoffs, but their regular season action has had mixed results.
The Rays won the AL East and, with it, the number-one seed, thanks to a 100-62 regular-season record. McClanahan is expected to start for the club, and his performance this year has prepared him for this game. He has a 1.27 WHIP and a 3.43 ERA, but has continued to improve throughout the second half of the season. Against the Red Sox this year, he has an ERA of 2.81 and a 1.25 WHIP in three starts.
Eduardo Rodriguez is going to start for the Red Sox, and his stats aren’t as good. He has a 5.21 ERA against the Rays and a 1.47 WHIP while going 2-4 in the matchups between these two. That could prove to be a problem tonight.
Rays Favored to Win
The Rays are seeing most of the betting action and rightfully so. The -160 online sportsbooks are giving them is a strong indication of how this game is going to be played. The Red Sox are getting +130, and the Rays are too strong. They have the fourth-best record at home and have repeatedly beaten the Red Sox this year.
The Over/Under is currently 8 at most books, which might be a little on the high side. McClanahan has three starts against the Red Sox this year and all three saw the Under hit. Most books expect this game to be light on the runs, but backing the Over at +100 isn’t a problem.