Here’s where the team that has lost 100+ games for three straight years stands compared to the defending World Champions and a Tampa Bay team which has averaged 91.6 wins over the past six seasons:
- Houston Astros: 29-36, .446 winning pct.
- Boston Red Sox: 28-35, .444 winning pct.
- Tampa Bay Rays: 24-41, .369 winning pct.
This comes as the Rays have skidded, the Red Sox have, with the exception of one nice week, skidded pretty badly themselves and as the Astros have won 12 of their last 16. So yes, we’re seeing the Astros at their absolute best and the Sox and Rays at their worst.
Personally, I think the Sox are a clearly better team than either of them in terms of talent and potential for the rest of the season and I would be utterly shocked if they don’t finish with a significantly better record than Houston does. But man, it’s weird and kinda neat to see stuff like this. At least if you’re not a Red Sox fan.
The Red Sox are looking to punch their ticket to the World Series in Houston on Thursday night Game 5 of the ALCS. If they do, they’ll return to the Fall Classic for the first time since 2013, knocking out the defending champs in the process.
RF Mookie Betts
LF Andrew Benintendi
DH J.D. Martinez
SS Xander Bogaerts
1B Mitch Moreland
2B Ian Kinsler
3B Rafael Devers
C Christian Vázquez
CF Jackie Bradley, Jr.
SP David Price
Chris Sale is still feeling weak after his brief stint in the hospital earlier this week, so Price is getting the start instead. If the series goes to a Game 6, Sale would start.
The lineup is a little different than it was when they faced Verlander in Game 1. Moreland and Kinsler are new additions. Devers draws another start with Eduardo Núñez banged up.
3B Alex Bregman
RF George Springer
DH José Altuve
SS Carlos Correa
1B Yuli Gurriel
2B Marwín González
LF Tony Kemp
C Martin Maldonado
CF Jake Marisnick
SP Justin Verlander
Bregman hits leadoff again. He hasn’t hit for average — just .182 — but he has drawn seven walks across four games. González handles second base again as Altuve’s right knee remains sore. Marisnick is getting his first start of the postseason. He’s had just one plate appearance, coming in Game 2 of the ALDS and he struck out.