The American League championship series has the taste of revenge.
The Houston Astros eliminated the Boston Red Sox in one of the division series last year, en route to winning the first World Series in their history.
Now the Red Sox, with the best record of all major leagues in the regular season of 2018, want revenge.
That division series of 2017 was so far the highest point of the short rivalry between both teams, as the Astros only moved to the young circuit in 2013, after spending 51 seasons in the National League.
Boston comes from the best campaign in its history, to overcome by three wins the mark of 105 imposed in 1912, exactly the year in which it opened the old Fenway Park, in addition to arriving with the inspiration that represents that it has eliminated its arch rivals New York Yankees in the Very Baseball Cathedral in the Bronx.
Houston also had the best harvest of its history, as the 103 victories achieved in 2018 went through 102 of 1998.
Moreover, for the first time they have two consecutive campaigns with more than a hundred wins, after being 101 last year.
In the pre-opening phase that started on Saturday, they crushed the Cleveland Indians mercilessly in three games, scored 21 points and gave up six.
HOUSTON, WITH LUXURY OPENERS
The pitching staff of Houston was the best of all big leagues with a 3.11 ERA, while rivals only beat them for .217.
Under the leadership of Justin Verlander, the Astros pitchers delivered 1.687 strikeouts, the highest number of all the Majors' bars, while giving away 435 tickets.
The openers had 105 quality openings, unique with more than a hundred.
The Verlander rights (16-9, 2.52), Gerrit Cole (15-5, 2.88) and Charlie Morton (15-3, 3.13) form the starting rotation for the post-season, together with lefthanded Dallas Keuchel (12-11, 3.74).
TWO MVP IN A SAME TEAM
The Red Sox were the team with the least homers in the AL in 2017, with only 168.
Things changed drastically in 2018, with the delayed signing in the winter of the Cuban J.D. Martinez, author of 43 full-length films and absolute leader in races promoted in all majors, with 130.
He was also the second in the average, with .330, so he flirted with the opportunity to win the Triple Crown, which would almost automatically have given him the Most Valuable Player prize of the young circuit.
But by not winning, many voters will become addicted to the adage that "a point is not focused" and will hide in their designated heat status for most of the competition to avoid the prize.
But if Martinez does not win, it will be taken by Mookie Betts, leader of all baseball hitters with an average of .346.
Betts was an exceptional first bat, an inspiring spark plug to Boston's attack, with 32 homers, five triples and 47 doubles, for a total of 84 extra-base hits.
Since Mickey Mantle in 1956, no player had led the young circuit in average and number of extra bases.
MAN TO MAN, ADVANTAGE TO HOUSTON
If we compare the two teams from man to man, the Astros champions have the advantage in most positions.
CATCHER: Martin Maldonado and Brian McCann about Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon.
FIRST BASE: Yuli Gurriel about Mitch Moreland / Steve Pearce.
SECOND BASIS: Jose Altuve on Ian Kinsler
shortstop: Xander Bogaerts on Carlos Correa.
THIRD BASIS: Alex Bregman on Eduardo Nuñez / Rafael Devers
RIGHT GARDEN: Mookie bets on Josh Reddick
CENTRAL GARDEN: George Springer on Jackie Bradley Jr.
LEFT GARDEN: Andrew Benintendi on Marwin Gonzalez.
DESIGNED BATTER: J.D. Martinez on everyone who manager A.J. Hinch.
OPEN ROTATION: Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton on Chris Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello.
CLOSER: Craig Kimbrel on Roberto Osuna.
BELT, IN DOUBT
The Puerto Rican Carlos Correa still has the problems at the back that have caused a setback in his career and could even miss this series.
This would force Hinch to adjust a team so tightly that it could be dangerous.
One of the possible options is to place the versatile Marwin González in the short stops and send Jake Marisnick to the left prairie.
Another would be to move Bregman to the short stop, take Gurriel to third place and put Tyler White in the first position.
FACTOR X OF THE ASTROS
Alex Bregman. The third baseman of Houston exploded to a superlative level in 2018, with songs worthy of the dignified player.
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For the first time in his career, he won all 30 homers and 100 RBI's, while he was the top double producer (51) in all baseball.
He has been hot in the & # 39; postseason & # 39; and in the divisional series against the Cleveland Indians, he went 9-5 (.556), with a pair of homers, a biangular, four RBI's, five runs and four walks.
FACTOR X OF THE RED STOCKS
Alex Cora The manager and not a player can make the difference because a leader rarely introduced a series of playoffs with as much knowledge of the rival as the Puerto Rican of Boston.
Hinch banking coach until last year, when the Astros won the World Series, Cora knows the innings, strengths and weaknesses of each opponent and should benefit from this.