The League Division Series for the 2021 MLB playoffs are now underway, including the ALDS between the Chicago White Sox, winners of the AL Central division, and the Houston Astros, who came out on top of the AL West. The five game series starts on Oct. 7, with the winner advancing to the American League Championship Series.
In addition to this matchup of 2021 divisional winners, there’s a unique wrinkle that you don’t typically see in a League Division Series — a World Series rematch. The World Series has been played between the best team in the AL and the best team in the NL since 1903, so it’s not typical that any potential rematch would occur between two AL teams. Why that is the case with the White Sox and Astros is because the Astros were an NL team until 2013, and the two teams met up in the 2005 World Series, with the White Sox winning.
That’s enough of a history lesson though, let’s get into the series matchup between White Sox and Astros and how you can watch.
Chicago White Sox vs Houston Astros ALDS schedule
Here is the full schedule for the White Sox vs Astros ALDS series (* denotes “if necessary)
Oct. 7: Chicago White Sox 1, Houston Astros 6
Oct. 8: Chicago White Sox 4, Houston Astros 9
Oct. 10: Houston Astros 6, Chicago White Sox 12
Oct. 12: Houston Astros 10, Chicago White Sox 1
White Sox vs Astros matchup preview
The White Sox, in their second season under Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa, make their second straight trip to the playoffs after missing out on postseason play for more than a decade; though they were eliminated in the first round in 2020. The Astros, on the other hand, have become perennial postseason participants in recent years, including multiple trips to the World Series (though with the help of some trash cans).
The White Sox won the AL Central pretty handily, finishing with a record of 93-69, 13 games above their closest division rival.
They have already announced the Game 1 and Game 2 starting pitchers for the ALDS against the Astros, throwing out Lance Lynn (11-6, 2.69 ERA) in Game 1 and Lucas Giolito (11-9, 3.53 ERA) in Game 2. The bullpen could be just as important for the White Sox as their starters, as it features a parade of hard-throwing arms that includes Michael Kopech, Aaron Bummer, Garrett Crochet, Liam Hendricks and Craig Kimbrel.
Offensively, the White Sox feature a lineup that includes Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada and Luis Roberts, who played less than half the season but who put up solid numbers.
The Astros, meanwhile, finished with a record of 95-67, five games clear of their closest competitor in the AL West.
The Astros announced starting pitchers are Lance McCullers Jr. (13-5, 3.16 ERA) for Game 1 and Framber Valdez (11-6, 3.14 ERA) in Game 2. Of course, the Astros will be without one of the best pitchers of the last 10 or so years and a postseason hero for them in the past, Justin Verlander, who was placed on season-ending IR.
However, they still have plenty of experience on their team, led by Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, two key members for the Astros recent string of success. But the Astros also have two other big bats, with Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, both of whom hit 30 or more home runs this year and more than 92 RBIs.
The Astros are the betting favorite for the series, favored -130 by Vegas.
How to watch the White Sox vs Astros ALDS series in the U.S.
The White Sox and Astros series will be split between Fox Sports 1 and the MLB Network, with Games 1 and 3 airing on FS1 and Game 2 on MLB Network (networks for Game 4 and Game 5 will be announced if/when we know those games will be needed).
FS1 is the cable sports arm owned by Fox and will handle the majority of the network’s AL playoff schedule prior to the World Series. The channel is available on most pay-TV subscription packages (just double check to make sure it’s on yours) as well as live streaming services (available on Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV). There is also an FS1 app that viewers can watch the games on.
The MLB Network is a bit more of a specialty play for sports-lovers, but you can still access it through many pay-TV services, as well as Fubo TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV. You can stream MLB Network’s coverage through different devices besides your TV, but you will need to be a subscriber to a pay-TV or live TV streaming service.
How to watch White Sox vs Astros in the U.K.
Even though baseball is America’s pastime, any fans of the game over in the U.K. can still tune in for playoff and World Series action. BT Sport will broadcast the games to its subscribers through its ESPN subchannel.
You will need to be a BT Sports subscriber to watch the network’s coverage of the MLB playoffs. A monthly subscription is available at £25.
How to watch White Sox vs Astros from anywhere in the world
You don’t have to be in the U.S. (or even the U.K.) to watch the 2021 MLB playoffs from first pitch to the last out. MLB has shared all of the international broadcasters covering the games, but if you’ve cut the cord entirely and none of these options are immediately available to you, there’s still the option of a VPN, or virtual private network.
A VPN is designed to route network traffic through a specific set of servers in a specific country, allowing viewers to watch content on an encrypted feed over a computer.
Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.
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