This is one of the more exciting series in this year’s postseason. The last two American League pennant winners go around the diamond for a chance to represent the American League in the World Series again. For each team the stories were different. The Indians blew a 3-1 series lead against the Chicago Cubs to a loss in game 7 and fell short of the Trophy (2016). The Astros forced a game 7 against the Dodgers and took home the World Series trophy last season. They would love to do it again, but this is going to be a tough task.
Despite the Indians clinching their division first, they still have to travel to Houston to start the series on Friday afternoon. The two teams faced each other seven times this season, with the Astros edging out the Indians four games to three. All seven of those games were played in May, and neither team is the same as they were then. That’s why it’s essential for the two sides to be well prepared for this series.
The Indians have won their division for the third straight year and are looking to finally win the World Series for the first time since 1948. They’ve won it twice (1920 & 1948), but have fallen short four times, including against the Cubs in 2016. The Astros won their division for the second straight season. They look to repeat as champions. It was their first title in franchise history after they failed to win a single game in the 2005 World Series against the Chicago White Sox.
2. Houston Astros vs 3. Cleveland Indians
Winner: Indians in 5
Reaction: The Astros offense is still as explosive as it was during their playoff run last season that led them to the World Series. The real game changer is third basemen, Alex Bregman, who is in his third year in the Majors and already leading his team in Home Runs and RBIs. Bregman led the way with 31 HRs and 103 RBIs; the next closest guy is Evan Gattis with 25 HRs and 78 RBIs. But they aren’t the only players with power on the team, and we have seen that all season long. They also have a strong pitching rotation, which is just another reason for the Astros’ to be the victor.
However, this is going to be an interesting series because it could be a pitchers battle or a slugfest. So we’ll have to keep a close eye on this one. I believe the Indians will have the edge because there’s still plenty of unknowns on the team.
We saw the Astros win the World Series last year with what they have, but the Indians added another slugger and former AL MVP, Josh Donaldson. Donaldson will be the X-factor in this series as the Indians look to make it to their second World Series in three years. Let me also mention that the Indians have a strong bullpen with three relief pitchers who could be the closers at any time. Indians’ Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, and Edwin Encarnacion all have 30+ homers on the season, so we do expect them to be pitched around to, which only opens up more opportunity for Donaldson. So let’s see how this round plays out.