ALCS preview: Houston seeks second consecutive pennant


(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The Houston Astros celebrate after a 5-1 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017.

Elijah Mize, Contributing Writer

With both the American League Championship and National League Championship matchups set, the top two teams from each League are set to battle for an opportunity to go to the World Series. Each Series will be a best-of-seven matchup to determine each league’s representative in the World Series.

This is familiar ground for both the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers as they will both look to win their second straight league pennant, while the Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox are each looking to take home one of their own.

Here is everything you need to know before the ALCS begins. For NLCS coverage click here:

American League Championship Series

The Astros and Red Sox have been on a collision course since Boston lost the Division Series to Houston at home in Fenway Park a year ago. Both clubs made quick work of their divisional round opponents with Houston sweeping the Cleveland Indians and Boston beating the New York Yankees in four games.

For Boston fans, this season started on a good note and continued for most of the season as the Red Sox won a Major League-best 108 games, the third most wins in a regular season by any MLB team over the last 30 years. The defending champion Houston Astros had a historic season as well with a 103-59 finish that tied with 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates for the tenth most regular season wins in history.

Boston’s offense has been a driving force all season, leading the major-league’s in runs scored, total hits, runs batted in (RBI), total bases, team batting average and team on-base percentage. The two main catalysts needed for this offensive dominance to continue has to be the combination of both AL MVP candidates outfielder Mookie Betts (won the AL batting title with .346 average, tied-major league lead 129 runs scored) and JD Martinez (second to Betts in batting average (.330), second in in home runs (43) and the league leader with  130 RBI).

For the Astros, their offense can score with anyone as well, finishing tied for tenth in the majors with 205 total home runs and sixth in runs scored with 797. Houston will need to get the best from what has proven to be the best in Major League Baseball this year at starting pitcher, with the combination of former Cy Young-winner Justin Verlander ( 16 wins, 290 strikeouts), All-Stars Gerrit Cole (15 wins, 276 strikeouts) and Charlie Morton (15 wins, 201 strikeouts) leading their team as the only one in Major League Baseball this year to have three starting pitchers each accomplish 15 plus wins and 200 plus strikeouts.

ALCS Schedule

1.)Sat., Oct. 13, @Boston, 8:09 p.m. ET, TBS

2.)Sun., Oct. 14, @Boston, 7:09 p.m. ET, TBS

3.)Tues., Oct. 16, @Houston,  5:09 p.m. ET, TBS

4.)Wed., Oct. 17, @Houston, 8:39 p.m. ET, TBS

5.)Thurs., Oct. 18, @Houston,  8:09 p.m. ET, TBS *

6.)Sat., Oct. 20, @Boston,  5:09 p.m. ET, TBS *

7.)Sun., Oct. 21, @Boston 7:39 p.m. ET TBS *

*If Necessary