Reason #3: Benefits of Houston vs. Boston
Close and Hard-Fought
How competitive has this rivalry been? Well as this article explains, it’s been pretty tight. 10 of the last 19 regular season contests have been decided by a run, which includes three games that were decided by two runs. The regular season has been one thing. But the postseason is a different story. In the nine games, while Boston has a 5-4 edge on the Astros, the past two series were pretty one-sided as far as domination. Using the Astros’ run differential from the past playoff games, you can clearly tell as to why that is.
- 8-2 (+6)
- 8-2 (+6)
- 3-10 (-7)
- 5-4 (+1)
- Total: +6
- 7-2 (+5)
- 5-7 (-2)
- 2-8 (-6)
- 6-8 (-2)
- 1-4 (-3)
- Total: -8
If this is a rivalry that could be beneficial for both teams, it will have to require another playoff series and one that would be close and hard fought. The 2017 Red Sox were not as strong of a team while the 2018 Astros were dealing with injuries to some key players. That’s why the 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox rank as two of the best teams in this century and were dominant in their series even if there was that one game that was close and hard-fought.
Geographically and historically challenged
There are two other reasons why this rivalry should continue to develop. For one, an underlying tone to this is the location. Some of the famous sports rivals current and past are usually around with franchises not around the same proximity.
- Cavaliers (Ohio)-Warriors (Calif.)
- Avalanche (Colo.)-Red Wings (Mich.)
- Heat (Fla.)-Knicks (N.Y)
- Celtics (Mass.)-Lakers (Calif.)
- Cowboys (Texas)-49ers (Calif.)
This is one of those times where geography takes a back seat because the two teams are currently among the top tier in the state of baseball right now and they’re playing some great baseball. It also would stand as a unique rivalry between something old and something new. Historically, Boston has had a winning tradition and an iconic franchise even though they went through an 86-year title drought one time.
The Astros have never experience that feeling until 2017. But when you have something new and on the rise challenging something old and historic, it can make for great drama and television. That’s why for a few years, the Miami Heat (new) and the New York Knicks (old) had memorable playoff battles in the late ’90s.
There was blood shown between the Colorado Avalanche (New) and the Detroit Red Wings (Old). While we don’t want any blood because there doesn’t seem to be hate between the two teams, we do want some great baseball and hopefully for the Astros to knock off the Red Sox and show them that they can and potentially will be beaten.
This is not to be disrespectful to Boston because it’s a great city with good people, but I
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sometimes joke that in a way, Houston is the bigger brother, because we have a bigger population, that works hard to be the best, but comes up short. Boston is like the little brother (in terms of population), but yet, they work hard to be the best and it pays off for them. It’s just a coincidence that they keep winning while Houston has yet to be Titletown, U.S.A.
Sure, the Yankees will always be the Red Sox’ number one rival while the Astros are stuck with the Rangers. But if each team wants to be a legacy builder, they need a rival to push them to the top. The Steelers would not be the dynasty in the ’70s without the Raiders and Cowboys competing against them. The Bulls don’t become the team of the ’90s without the Pistons and the Knicks.
So if the Astros want to be a great team historically, they have to take advantage of a potential matchup with the Red Sox in the playoffs. Of course, things have to play out well for that to happen. However, there is a chance that we’re looking at a third straight meeting. So far, the Astros have answered the challenge.
No guarantees the rivalry will continue to escalate, but we’ll see if the Astros can make more baseball memories with the Red Sox.