The Boston Red Sox have probably cleared up some of the doubts as to whether or not they can deliver in the playoffs.
They showed they could handle the New York Yankees after underwhelming in the first round of the playoffs the previous two seasons against the eventual AL Champs. This time, however, it was different. Yes, David Price struggled, but Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi were sharp--and the bats (like Brock Holt) stepped up their game. It was truly magnificent to watch, albeit the bullpen still makes fans nervous (as it should). However, now the Yankees are a thing of the past. Their season is over. It's time for them to go golfing. Now, it's time for Houston.
Yeah, the Red Sox are going to have to try to knock down the defending World Series champs. It's a difficult task but remember, the Red Sox had the best record in baseball during the regular season and the Astros offense was pretty average in the second half (in terms of on-base plus slugging (OPS)). There's holes in their starting lineup and guys who struggled in the last couple of months of the season.
What this series is really going to come down to though is pitching. Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are two of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball and their other two starters had ERAs in the 3's this past regular season. It's a very strong team in Houston yet again this season with one of the best pitching staffs in the league. However, as we all know, the Red Sox can shellack the top guys in the league with the high-level bats in their lineup.
Here's a prediction: whoever wins the ALCS this season wins the World Series as well. Not sure who takes the cake here, but there's no one in the National League who seems to be on the same level.