If you would have told me a month ago that by halfway through the League Championship Series, the Red Sox would be only one game away from going to the World Series and the Brewers would not only be in the NLCS but be down just one game to the Dodgers, I would have called you crazy.
But that is, in fact, exactly where we find ourselves today.
In a surprising turn of events, the Red Sox seem to be dominating the ALCS with a total of 25 runs in just four games. Despite the Astros taking Game 1 in Boston, the Red Sox literally came back swinging — that is, Mookie Betts did, owning one-fifth of all the runs scored by the BoSox in the series thus far and helping the team surge past the ‘Stros in the three games that followed.
The Astros are not letting off the gas, though. On Wednesday night, Andrew Benintendi rescued the Red Sox from a more than precarious situation — three runners on plus a hit from Bregman was bad news for Boston until Benintendi’s diving catch robbed the Astros of what would have been a win and a 2-2 series.
Similarly, the Brewers have been putting up quite a fight against the Dodgers over in the NLCS. The two teams are neck and neck, with Los Angeles possessing a mere one-game advantage over Milwaukee as the teams enter Game 6. In fact, Christian Yelich and company shut the Blue Crew out Monday night in Dodger Stadium, while the Brewers were only outscored by a combined five runs in the three games they lost.
It is unlikely that the Dodgers will give up any more ground to the Brewers, however. LA has by no means been underperforming — previously unheralded Chris Taylor has been a surprising star of the series, with five hits in the first two games and four scored runs total.
Cody Bellinger, likewise, had an amazing Game 5 with not only an incredible diving grab in the top of the 10th, but a game-winning RBI off of Junior Guerra to secure a significant win that put the Dodgers just a game away from the finals. Familiar faces such as Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw and even Yasiel Puig have assisted in giving the Dodgers a one-game lead over the hopeful Brewers and look to cement their spot in the World Series on Friday night at Miller Park.
The Astros (down 3-1), on the other hand, had better count their lucky stars if they want a chance at going double with the Dodgers. The Sox seem to continue earning their title as the best hitting team in baseball even into the postseason, and if the Astros want a comeback, they’ll need to see better action in the bullpen and on the mound, paired with runs — lots of runs.
They have Justin Verlander and mostly reliable Dallas Keuchel, but Houston’s relievers need to start showing up (we’re looking at you, Roberto Osuna) if they want to prevent Boston’s powerhouse players from doing major damage at the plate (we’re looking at you, Jackie Bradley Jr.). The Astros will play the Red Sox again Thursday night in Houston.
All of the United States (except residents of Houston and Milwaukee, of course) seems to be hoping for a World Series between the Red Sox and Dodgers, and with the way the League Series is panning out, this dream might just become a reality. The teams in question, though, are all notorious for their ability to make the impossible possible; it seems that both series will be down-to-the-wire races with a very small degree of predictability, giving you all the more reason to tune in to the final games of the AL and NLCS later this week.
Emily Ohman writes for Bear Bytes, the Daily Californian’s sports blog. Contact her at [email protected].