After a rollercoaster second half, the Boston Red Sox knocked off two foes that few outside the confines of New England thought they could. But now the stage is set, a trip to the Fall Classic is on the line. The Sox will take on the Astros. For the second time in four years these two franchises will go toe to toe. Who wins the slugfest I foresee ? The better managed team. 

That’s the thing about the MLB postseason. The cream rises and the popcorn falls to the ground. A lucky break can take you into October, But to stay there, it takes more than a bounce over a short right field fence. More than a bobble at first and more than a blown call. Here are my Monster Keys to the Sox winning the ALCS 

Enrique Stays Suave 

 The Boston Bats came together in the ALDS, But Hernandez was arguably one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Kike proved once again to be the best Dodger to come to Boston this past offseason after signing here as a free agent. And he was scorching hot in the ALDS, hitting .435 in four contests with two homers and ten RBI. He also drove in the game-winning run in Game 4 with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth to walk it off. In fact, Hernandez had seven hits in seven at-bats for the Red Sox before lining out in the seventh inning Monday. Every October needs a hero. And Hernandez has a shot to become just that.

All Arms on Deck 

This is a phrase that will resonate from Cora’s office, to the locker room to the bullpen. In October , You can forget pitch counts.Days of rest? Starter or reliever ? Ha ! All that is meaningless when the leaves change and the temperature drops. To this point.Cora’s Pitchers have responded as Nate Eovaldi stated he was set to go into Game Four against the Rays if necessary. Cora will need to push the right buttons and go to the hook at the right times. With the three batter rule still in effect, this may well be coras hardest job in any post season he has managed. 

October is for Scary Bats.

 Two of the best offenses in baseball will take the field Friday night in Houston.. While there are good arms on both sides, a lot of runs will be scored in the ALCS. And it’s going to be an edge of your seat series for fans. So hang onto your butts. 

 

Boston hit .328 in the ALDS. After being shut out for the first time in a postseason game since 2016, they turned it on, scoring 26 runs in the last three games. Hernandez, Devers, Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez, and Alex Verdugo are swinging the bats better than at any time this season. Alex Cora’s squad sent 11 long balls into the stands during the opening series. These men need to stay hot to fight off the Astros lineup. 

 

 

 

The Mad Genius 

Cora enters the 2021 ALCS against the Astros with a postseason record of 15-4, the top winning percentage (.789) of any manager with at least 15 postseason games on a résumé. This is no accident. In my 50 plus years on this planet I have to say: The man has one of the best baseball IQ’s ive seen from a skipper. While he is beloved by his players there is no sentiment to his managerial game. He could send “ Ace ” Chris Sale out to the bullpen as easily as he pulled him from game 2 of the ALDS in favor of Tanner Houck. Nick Pavetta could again start and relieve two days later. 

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