After losing four of their last five games, the Boston Red Sox finally clinched the American League East Division title by beating the Houston Astros 6-3 at Fenway Park on Saturday. Boston was holding a two-game lead in the division over the New York Yankees, and was at risk of playing a potential game 163 if they were to lose both this game and the next and their rivals won theirs.
Drew Pomeranz took the mound for Boston, going six plus innings of one-run ball as he held the Astros to three hits. In the meantime, the offense got going against opposing starter Lance McCullers Jr., tagging him for five runs in four and a third innings. The Astros attempted to stage a comeback in the sixth inning after knocking Pomeranz out of the game and getting to reliever Carson Smith to make it a 5-2 game with no one out. That was until Sox reliever David Price came in and shut down the rally with three straight outs after pitching an inning and two thirds the night before.
Right fielder Mookie Betts contributed to the fun with a solo home run in the bottom half of the seventh to make it 6-2 Boston. In the ninth, closer Craig Kimbrel gave up a home run to Houston catcher Brian McCann, but then buckled down to get the last three outs and secure Boston’s spot in the ALDS in Houston this Thursday.
With the postseason set though, how are Boston’s chances? They are the number three seed in the American League and would have to beat the Astros in a best of five series in order to move on to face either the Cleveland Indians or the winner of the American League Wild Card Game. As seen by the playoff setup of their series with Houston, Boston has work to do in order to shut down Houston’s dangerous offense and strong bullpen. Chris Sale will likely start in the first game, followed by either Rick Porcello or Pomeranz. Boston may also rely on a fourth starter in Eduardo Rodriguez since Price will likely stay in the bullpen.
Boston’s 2017 postseason run begins Thursday, October 5 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.