Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:02 AM

ALDS Cheat Sheet

2018 Head-to-Head Matchups (Astros 4-3, Over 5-2)

Cleveland vs. Houston (Minute Maid Park)
May 18 – Astros 4, Indians 1 (Under 7 ½)
May 19 – Indians 5, Astros 4 (Over 7)
May 20 – Astros 3, Indians 1 (Under 7 ½)

Houston vs. Cleveland (Progressive Field)
May 24 – Astros 8, Indians 2 (Over 8)
May 25 – Astros 11, Indians 2 (Over 7 ½)
May 26 – Indians 8, Astros 6 (Over 8)
May 27 – Indians 10, Astros 9 (Over 8)

The Astros begin their title defense after winning over 100 games for the second straight season. Houston compiled as many road wins (57) as Boston did at home, while finishing with the seventh-best home mark in the American League at 46-35. On August 19, the Astros and Athletics were tied atop the AL West at 74-49, as Houston won the finale of a critical three-game set in Oakland, 9-4. Since that victory, the Astros went on a 28-10 run to grab the AL West championship, including a 12-2 record at Minute Maid Park.

Staff ace Justin Verlander will take the mound in Game 1 for Houston, as the Astros put together a putrid 2-8 record at Minute Maid Park from June through August to lose over 17 units in that span. However, Verlander rebounded in the final month of the season as Houston won all five of his starts, including a 3-0 mark at home. Verlander struck out double-digit batters in each of his last four starts, while not allowing a run in his final two outings. Verlander posted a 3-0 record at home in the playoffs during the 2017 championship run, while the right-hander is making his first start against Cleveland this season.

Gerrit Cole put together a 15-5 record in his first season in Houston, while the Astros won his final six starts. The right-hander yielded two earned runs or less in 21 starts this season, as Cole allowed three earned runs in seven innings of a 10-9 defeat to Cleveland back in late May. Houston led that game, 8-3 headed to the bottom of the ninth before Cleveland rallied for five runs to force extra innings and ultimately won in 14.

The Indians were one win away in 2016 from the franchise’s first World Series title since 1948, but blew a 3-1 lead to the Cubs. Last season, Cleveland jumped out to a commanding 2-0 ALDS advantage over New York, but the Yankees stormed back for three straight wins to knock out the Tribe. Cleveland will try to get it right this time around after raising its third consecutive AL Central title following a 91-71 campaign.

In late May, the Indians were 24-25 after losing the first two games of a home series with the Astros, but still managed to stay in first place. Cleveland went on to win 28 of the next 46 games heading into the All-Star break to grab firm control of the division, while going on a 15-4 run in August to complete distance itself from the pack.

Corey Kluber has won the AL Cy Young award twice in his career (2014 and 2017), but had never reached the 20-victory mark in a season prior to 2018. Kluber finished this season at 20-7, while owning an ERA below 3.00 (2.89) for the third time in his stellar career. In Game 1 on Friday, Kluber gets the ball at Minute Maid Park for an afternoon affair as the Cleveland ace put together a 9-0 mark with a 1.93 ERA in daytime starts this season. Kluber performed well in two outings against Houston this season by allowing two earned runs in 13 innings of work, including a 5-4 triumph at Minute Maid Park in May. However, Kluber has struggled in his last three playoff starts by giving up 13 runs, while not lasting past the fourth inning in any of those appearances.

Fellow right-hander Carlos Carrasco put together nearly the same numbers in 2018 as he did in 2017, winning 17 games each season while his ERA slightly jumped from 3.28 to 3.38. Carrasco struck out a career-best 231 batters compared to walking only 43, while the Indians finished UNDER the total in seven of his final 12 starts. Carrasco wasn’t sharp in two appearances against Houston this season by giving up 15 hits and eight earned runs in 13.1 innings of work.

The Indians and Astros are meeting in the playoffs for the first time ever as Cleveland has won four consecutive postseason series openers (all at home). During last season’s championship run, the Astros compiled a strong 8-1 record at Minute Maid Park, while limiting its opponents to three runs or less in its three playoff series openers in 2017.

2018 Head-to-Head Matchups (Red Sox 10-9, Over 11-6-2)

New York vs. Boston (Fenway Park)
April 10 – Red Sox 14, Yankees 1 (Over 6 ½)
April 11 – Yankees 10, Red Sox 7 (Over 8)
April 12 – Red Sox 6, Yankees 3 (Push 9)

August 2 – Red Sox 15, Yankees 7 (Over 10)
August 3 – Red Sox 4, Yankees 1 (Under 9)
August 4 – Red Sox 4, Yankees 1 (Under 10)
August 5 – Red Sox 5, Yankees 4 (Push 9)

September 28 – Yankees 11, Red Sox 6 (Over 9 ½)
September 29 – Yankees 8, Red Sox 5 (Over 9 ½)
September 30 – Red Sox 10, Yankees 2 (Over 9)

Boston vs. New York (Yankee Stadium)
May 8 – Yankees 3, Red Sox 2 (Under 8 ½)
May 9 – Yankees 9, Red Sox 6 (Over 8 ½)
May 10 – Red Sox 5, Yankees 4 (Under 9 ½)

June 29 – Yankees 8, Red Sox 1 (Under 9 ½)
June 30 – Red Sox 11, Yankees 0 (Over 8 ½)
July 1 – Yankees 11, Red Sox 1 (Over 8 ½)

September 18 – Yankees 3, Red Sox 2 (Under 9)
September 19 – Yankees 10, Red Sox 1 (Over 8 ½)
September 20 – Red Sox 11, Yankees 6 (Over 8 ½)

Red Sox. Yankees. The preview should end here.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t. These two rivals are hooking up for the third time in three weeks, while meeting in the playoffs for the fourth time ever. Both Boston and New York each eclipsed the 100-win mark in the same season for the first time ever, while these two franchises are hooking up in the postseason for the first time since the Red Sox erased a 3-0 series deficit to shock the Yankees and capture the 2004 American League pennant.

The year prior, the Yankees walked-off past the Red Sox into the World Series on an Aaron Boone home run into left field in Game 7 of the ALCS. Fifteen years later, Boone has the Yankees in the playoffs in his first year as manager, opposite Boston’s Alex Cora, who is also in his first year as skipper of the Red Sox.

(You know the history, now how they got here)

The Red Sox jumped off the page in April by starting 17-2 and owning a dynamic 68-30 record through the All-Star break. The last time Boston won over 100 games came in 1946, when the Sox picked up 104 victories, but this year’s team set a new standard with 108 wins and a third consecutive AL East title. You can thank for Boston’s offense as offseason acquisition J.D. Martinez finished in the top three in the AL for batting average (.330), home runs (43), and runs batted in (130), while Mookie Betts captured the AL batting crown with a .346 average.

Chris Sale is still seeking his first Cy Young award and was on his way after a solid first two months. However, missed a month with a left shoulder injury in August, while not throwing more than five innings in his last five starts. Boston finished 18-9 in Sale’s 27 starts as he ranked third in the AL in strikeouts (237) and owned a better WHIP (0.86) than Verlander, Kluber, and Cole. In two starts against the Yankees this season, Sale shut down the Bronx Bombers by allowing one run in 13 innings of two blowout victories.

David Price will start Game 2 at Fenway Park for Boston as the former Cy Young winner will likely not step foot on the mound in the Bronx. Price picked up 16 victories for Boston following an injury-shortened 2017, but the Red Sox went 1-3 in his four starts against New York this season. Two of the losses came at Yankee Stadium in which he was tagged for 14 runs in only 8.2 innings of work. Price pitched out of the bullpen in last year’s playoff series against Houston, while his teams are 0-6 in his past six postseason starts since 2013.

The Yankees advanced past the Wild Card round for the second straight season after cruising past the Athletics, 7-2. New York extended its OVER streak to seven consecutive games thanks to home runs from its two big bats in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees will look to get off to a solid start in the ALDS as New York owns a 7-1 record in its past eight road series openers, while capturing four of six series openers against Boston this season.

Five Yankee sluggers knocked out at least 25 home runs this season (Judge, Stanton, Didi Gregorious, Miguel Andujar, and Aaron Hicks), while Stanton was one of four AL players to score and drive in 100 runs.

On the mound, Masahiro Tanaka stumbled in his final two starts by allowing nine runs in eight innings of work against Boston and Tampa Bay. Tanaka managed a 12-6 mark to win at least 12 games for the fifth time in five seasons, while posting a 7-1 road record. The Yankees split four matchups with the Red Sox when Tanaka started, as the right-hander gave up four runs in three of those outings.

Midseason acquisition J.A. Happ put together a perfect 7-0 record in 11 starts for New York after coming over from Toronto. Happ faced the Red Sox four times this season (twice with New York, twice with Toronto) as the southpaw gave up five runs in his last two starts in September in 12 innings of work. Luis Severino tossed four scoreless innings in Wednesday’s Wild Card win as he dominated the Red Sox in three home starts this season, but was 0-2 at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox have not reached the ALCS since winning the World Series back in 2013, while the Yankees have not made the World Series since capturing the title against Philadelphia in 2009. New York has won four of its past five American League Divisional Series since 2009, including rallying from a 2-0 deficit to beat Cleveland last season. The Yankees posted a perfect 5-0 record at home in the 2017 playoffs, while the Red Sox are 0-4 in their past four road playoff contests.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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