BOSTON RED SOX at HOUSTON ASTROS
Sunday night very well could be a preview of this year's ALCS. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Rick Porcello (7-2) vs. Charlie Morton (7-0)
At 39-18, with hardly a rough stretch to speak of thus far this season, the Boston Red Sox enter this weekend with the best record in baseball and appear to be a lock for at least a Wild Card spot. To avoid an undesirable one-game playoff to begin their postseason run, though, they'll need to continue to hold off the Yankees, who trail them closely in the AL East standings. But are the Red Sox the best team in baseball? Run differential would suggest they're second (+87) to the Houston Astros, a team that had a staggering +125 differential as of Friday morning. The Sox and 'Stros kicked off a four-game weekend series in Houston on Thursday night, with Houston grabbing a 4-2 win.
The series finale will play out on Sunday Night Baseball, with a special 7:30 start time perhaps accounting for Game 2 of the NBA Finals, which is scheduled to tip off at 9:00. Respective Boston and Houston starters Rick Porcello and Charlie Morton have a combined record of 14-2. Morton's 2.26 ERA will surely climb eventually, although he was very solid last year at 3.62 on the season. After a Cy Young campaign in 2016 and a disappointing 2017, Porcello's having himself something of a bounceback year. He pitched into the seventh inning in a 8-3 win against Toronto earlier this week.
This matchup will feature some of baseball's hottest hitters. Boston's Mookie Betts is a sincere candidate for MVP despite the existence of Mike Trout, and he has combined with J.D. Martinez for 35 home runs. (Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton who?) Houston's lineup is, of course, similarly stacked, with reigning MVP Josť Altuve raking once again, and Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and George Springer joining him in doing son.