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Red Sox and Astros give us a star-studded American League Championship Series

Their 211 combined wins is the second-most of any postseason series ever

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MLB: Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 American League Championship Series features teams with the two best records in baseball, with the defending World Series champion Houston Astros facing off with the best-record-in-baseball Boston Red Sox.

The series begins Saturday at Fenway Park in Boston (8:09 p.m. ET, TBS).

Astros vs. Red Sox is a rematch of last year’s AL Division Series, won by the Astros in four games. That was the only previous playoff matchup between the two teams.

The Red Sox (108) and Astros (103) set franchise records for wins in 2018, and their 211 combined victories are tied with the 2001 ALCS (Mariners-Yankees) for the second-most in a single postseason series, trailing only the 1998 World Series (Yankees-Padres, 212).

The Astros dominated the Indians in the AL Division Series, outscoring them 21-6 in a three-game sweep. The Red Sox outlasted the Yankees in four games, including handing New York its worst postseason defeat ever in Game 3’s 16-1 triumph.

With 211 wins between them, it’s no surprise that a Red Sox-Astros series is full of stars. There’s last year’s MVP — Houston second baseman Jose Altuve — against this year’s likely MVP — Boston right fielder Mookie Betts, plus a potential Game 1 matchup of Justin Verlander and Chris Sale, with the two highest strikeout totals in the American League in the last three seasons combined.

These teams boast a bevy of young talent, including Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi, each drafted in the first seven picks in 2015. Both teams have a big offseason acquisition that has taken them to new heights, with free agent J.D. Martinez thriving in the middle of the Red Sox lineup, and Gerrit Cole bolstering Houston’s rotation after getting traded from Pittsburgh in January.

First-year Astros manager Alex Cora was the Astros bench coach during their 2017 World Series run.

Boston has the best offense in baseball, averaging 5.4 runs per game, while the Astros are the kings of run prevention, allowing just 3.3 runs per game during the regular season, nearly three-quarters of a run better than the next-best team. Houston had the best run differential in the majors, outscoring opponents by 263 runs, while the Red Sox were second at +229.

The Red Sox had the best overall record in baseball and the best home record as well, at 57-24. The Astros were 57-24 on the road, the sixth-best away record in the last 111 seasons.

The Astros beat the Red Sox in four of their seven regular-season meetings, including winning two of three at Fenway Park in September.

Astros-Red Sox ALCS schedule

Game Date Location Time (ET) TV
Game Date Location Time (ET) TV
1 Sat, Oct 13 Fenway Park 8:09 p.m. TBS
2 Sun, Oct 14 Fenway Park 7:09 p.m. TBS
3 Tue, Oct 16 Minute Maid Park 5:09 p.m. TBS
4 Wed, Oct 17 Minute Maid Park 8:39 p.m. TBS
5* Thu, Oct 18 Minute Maid Park 8:09 p.m. TBS
6* Sat, Oct 20 Fenway Park 5:09 p.m.^ TBS
7* Sun, Oct 21 Fenway Park 7:39 p.m. TBS
*if necessary ^if there is no NLCS Game 7 on Oct. 20, the start time of ALCS Game 6 will be 8:09 p.m. ET

TBS will televise the ALCS, with Brian Anderson, Ron Darling, and Lauren Shehadi on the call. Online streaming is available through and through FuboTV.