After a controversial call, the Houston Astros are off to the ALCS and are now four wins away from the World Series.

Last year, despite the rise of the Chicago Cubs as World Series champions for the first time in 108-years, Sports Illustrated tagged the Houston Astros as baseball’s next biggest thing. We’re through the first round of the postseason, and so far that prophecy is holding true.

It took four games, some questionable decisions, and a questionable call but the Astros are through to the ALCS for the first time since 2005. Coincidentally, the Astros made the World Series that year as National League representatives. A.J. Hinch’s team now sits just four wins away from being able to say it represented both leagues in separate World Series appearances.

A lot needs to happen before that becomes a reality, but right now the Astros stand as the first team to punch a ticket to the LCS this postseason. Red Sox fans are going to have plenty to talk about this winter, as this series very well could have broken another way if not for a questionable call in the 8th inning.

Houston raised some eyebrows when it brought in Justin Verlander from the bullpen, which led to Boston being able to claim the lead. It was clear at that point Houston was playing for keeps, wholly uninterested in allowing things to get to a Game 5. It was a rocky road, but the Astros are through and could potentially have some extra days of rest for their arms.

Updated Postseason Bracket

Three Stars

1. Alex Bregman (1-for-5, HR, RBI)

When the Astros blew an early lead, it was Bregman’s home run that brought Houston back into it. He tied the game with his dinger, and gave the Astros life that then produced a few more runs after it.

2. Andrew Benintendi (2-for-4, 2-run HR)

It was all Houston until Benintendi blew the doors off Justin Verlander and gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. It ended up not mattering but it at least kept things interesting and gave the Red Sox something to fight for.

3. Rafel Devers (2-for-3, HR)

Anytime you hit an inside the park home run, especially in the bottom of the ninth, you’re a star. Devers didn’t tie the game with his hit, but he energized Fenway after the air had been sucked out the inning prior.

Highlights

Houston was able to hold a 2-1 lead until this happened:

The Red Sox held serve until the 8th inning, when Alex Bregman took Chris Sale deep and tied the game up.

Next Game

Boston’s season is over, and fans will now spend the winter months wondering what-if. As for the Astros, Houston will await the winner of the Indians-Yankees series. That could be determined later Monday night.

Houston looks like the real deal. A.J. Hinch has a special squad, and they are now just eight wins away from finally becoming World Series champions.





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