While it’s not surprising that the Houston Astros have run away with the AL West at this point in the MLB season, it’s pretty shocking that the Boston Red Sox are in last place in the AL East. Boston has never really been able to rebound from a disastrous start to 2022 and now find themselves beneath the Baltimore Orioles in the standings and on the outside looking in at the AL Wild Card race. As our Red Sox vs Astros series preview will show, it’s a bad time for Boston to be taking on a scorching hot Houston club down in Texas.
The Astros bounced back from an out-of-character three-game sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics last week to take three of four from the Seattle Mariners over the weekend. Houston has been rolling for the past three months and is clicking on all cylinders with a loaded lineup and deep starting rotation. The Astros don’t have any weaknesses and currently hold a commanding 12-game division lead. They also have the third-best MLB odds to win the World Series.
Red Sox-Astros Game 1 Information
- Game: Boston Red Sox (51-52) at Houston Astros (67-36)
- Location: Minute Maid Park
- TV: ESPN
Boston Is Hurting
There’s a chance that longtime Red Sox stalwart and former Astro, J.D. Martinez has already played his last game for Boston. He is a free agent this summer and with the Red Sox’s struggles this season, Boston might be a seller before this week’s trade deadline (which is on Tuesday). So, many of Boston’s tradeable assets, headlined by Martinez, could be on the move today and/or tomorrow and that could leave the Red Sox shorthanded against Houston.
Also, the Red Sox are missing a good chunk of their lineup at the moment. Rafael Devers (hamstring), Trevor Story (wrist), and Kiké Hernández (hip) are all on the injured list so Boston has been forced to use below-league-average replacements all over the diamond. The same can be said for the Red Sox’s rotation, which is currently without Rich Hill, Chris Sale, and Michael Wacha. The Red Sox’s odds to win the World Series have cratered since the beginning of the year, both due to underperformance but also tons of injuries.
Astros Have Big Pitching Edge
The Astros might be the worst possible opponent for a struggling team like the Red Sox to face. Houston is 56-26 since May 1st and while the Astros’ star-studded lineup — led by players Yordan Álvarez, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker and Alex Bregman is extremely productive, it’s Houston’s pitching staff that makes this team so great. The Astros have the lowest team ERA in the American League and boast six solid starters. Even though Houston will turn to No. 3-5 in their rotation this series, starting with Luis García, the Astros’ depth starters have been more than good enough to support a very good offense.
So, this Red Sox vs Astros preview needs to focus on the huge disparity between these teams both in terms of starting pitching and relief pitching. Houston’s starter ERA is 3.26 and bullpen ERA is 2.79 while Boston’s starter ERA is 4.37 and bullpen ERA is 4.27. It won’t be easy for Boston to overcome that kind of disadvantage this series, even if Rich Hill is able to come off the IL and start on Tuesday. The Red Sox just don’t have the kind of pitching depth to compete with Houston’s.
Houston Is on Cruise Control
Despite the Yankees having MLB’s best record for much of the season, the Astros’ surge over the past few months has put them just two games behind New York for the top spot in the AL. Houston has arguably been playing like the best team in baseball and is doing so even without Michael Brantley or Lance McCullers Jr. due to injury. Couple that with Boston’s 8-19 record in July (a month in which the Red Sox only got one win from a starting pitcher) and these teams are headed in completely opposite directions.
This Red Sox vs Astros series preview is all about how mismatched these teams are on paper, however, with that said, anything can happen in a three-game series. Still, though, logic dictates that Houston should be able to run through a Boston team that might be distracted by the upcoming trade deadline. Look for the Astros to keep cruising.Follow us on Twitter