As Thursday’s series opener rapidly approaches, let’s breakdown the upcoming matchup.

Houston definitely has an advantage when it comes to the offensive side. This is a powerful lineup, top to bottom. With Altuve, Springer, Correa, Bregman, they offer length, power, speed.

However, I believe the Red Sox have a potential advantage with their pitching, their outfield defense, and base-running.

While Houston, will be pitching Justin Verlander in game 1 and Dallas Keuchel in game 2 they still don’t have a reliable pitcher for game 3. This is where the Red Sox have an advantage.

The Red Sox will throw Sale on 8 days rest, which I along with the majority of Red Sox fans think will benefit him, especially with the past month’s struggles. He needs the rest and I believe it’ll benefit him and when he takes the mound Thursday.  As for game 2, after Sale, Farrell could go with either Pomeranz, or with Porcello to split up the lefties.

Rick Porcello, who went from Cy Young to 11-17 this season, still has decent home/road splits. He went 7-11 at Fenway and though still under .500 on the road, he pitched better – going 4-6. In his only appearance against Houston, he was hit quite hard, earning the loss.

Pomeranz, on the other hand, was 10-3 at Fenway while 7-3 away from Fenway.  He threw 12.2 only giving up 2 total runs against the Astros this season. In my opinion, it might make sense to pitch Porcello in Game 2, follow with Pomeranz in Game 3 and depending on how the series is going can either go with Sale again in Game 4 in Boston or potentially Erod.

The Red Sox have one of the best outfield defenses in all of baseball. With Benintendi, JBJ, and Mookie, the young outfield covers a lot of ground. I also believe that the Red Sox have a better overall outfield than Houston’s.

The Red Sox were one of the top teams in taking the extra base and while it resulted in being thrown out at a higher rate, they weren’t afraid to make that attempt to take that risk.  A few weeks ago, in Cincinnati when Mookie Betts scored from second base on an infield single by Rafael Devers, it showed the aggressiveness of the Red Sox to risk taking the extra base.

In Christian Vasquez and Sandy Leon, Boston holds the advantage behind the plate. Vasquez showed that he still has the Molina like arm, but what shocked many was that he was such an offensive force as well.  Leon has as I’ve pointed out had a down season this season compared to his breakout last season, but he still can control a game on both ends.

The bullpen is an interesting situation, though I still give the advantage to Red Sox. Throughout the regular season, the bullpen has been the strength of this Red Sox team. This was exemplified especially in extra inning games.

Now having  David Price now fully embracing his “fireman, Andrew Miller type” bullpen role, along with Addison Reed, Joe Kelly, Carson Smith, setting up for Kimbrel, I see this as a major advantage over the Astros.

My prediction is Red Sox in 5!