In Games 2 and 3 of the ALCS, the Red Sox slugged their way to an early series lead with 21 runs and 22 hits in two blowout victories. The last two games have told a much different story.
In Games 4 and 5, the Sox’ offense has cooled significantly, putting up just three runs on a total of eight hits in two lopsided losses. On Tuesday, Boston couldn’t capitalize on scoring chances, going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and leaving 11 men on base. On Wednesday, Astros starter Framber Valdez dazzled for eight innings, holding the Sox to three total hits.
The sudden downturn has the Red Sox on the brink of elimination heading into Game 6 on Friday night in Houston. But manager Alex Cora isn’t planning any changes to the lineup he has used all postseason.
“I don’t see it as a slump. It’s two games,” Cora said. “Obviously, it’s a series, but, I mean, we’ve been really good offensively the whole month.”
Valdez allowed one run and five hits in 2 ? innings in Houston’s Game 1 win, but Wednesday was a different story. The 27-year-old lefty held Boston at bay from the jump, retiring the first 12 batters he faced. The only damage against Valdez came in the sixth inning, when Rafael Devers hit a homer that made the score 7-1.