CLEVELAND -- One year after laying waste to baseball, are the Red Sox lying in wait? One of their chief rivals for American League supremacy isn't taking anything for granted.
Speaking at the All-Star Game, Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole said what a lot of teams are undoubtedly thinking after the Sox ripped off five wins in their last six games before the break: Sleep on them at your own peril.
"They're dangerous, man. They're dangerous," Cole said. "They have a really great starting rotation with big names, guys who pitch well in big games. They have big-time hitters, not only the most talented hitters, but some of the most clutch hitters. They play cohesively as a unit. They seem to bring guys up that have success in the moment like (Michael) Chavis and (Rafael) Devers. They just arrive and they're stars. One of my favorites, the Brock Star, going back to my Double-A Altoona days with Mr. Holt. We had some good times. They're dangerous."
The Red Sox spent most of the first half trying to accelerate out of deep gravel, but they entered the break a season-high eight games over .500. If the playoffs started today, they wouldn't be partaking, but they only trail the wild card-leading Rays by 2.5 games and the Indians by two games. They're also a half-game back of the A's.
The Red Sox and Astros have ended each other's seasons the last two years, so Cole is taking nothing for granted, especially after the Red Sox handled the Astros in five games during last year's ALCS, even though Houston's 57 wins are tied with the Yankees for tops in the American League.
"We got beat," he said. "It still obviously evokes some emotion right now. I don't like losing. It fuels you every year that you don't win, to come back and get in the weight room and get prepared. It's always on your mind that that's where we got stopped last year. We're going to try not to be stopped again this year."
And if the Red Sox are standing in their way again?
"They're a seasoned team," Cole said. "They know how to win, and boy, if they got hot at the right time, they're going to give a lot of people some fits."
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