The New York Yankees and Houston Astros will begin their 2019 American League Championship Series Saturday at Minute Maid Park. Both teams were easily the best in the junior circuit, and both feature high powered offenses with great pitching. Here is a preview of this much anticipated series.
The Astros feature two future Hall of Famers, plus another who hasn’t lost a game since May. Zack Grienke will start game one, while Justin Verlander, who pitched on three days rest in the ALDS, will start Game 2. Gerrit Cole, who hasn’t lost a game since May 22, will start Game 3. The Yankees will go with Masahiro Tanaka in Game 1, while James Paxton and Luis Severino with cover Games 2 and 3. Houston clearly has the edge here, with the domination of Cole and Verlander. However, don’t sleep on the Yankees staff as they were able to easily handle the Twins batting order. Plus, they will be on extended rest.
DJ LeMahieu put up an MVP-worthy season since signing as a free agent in the offseason. A .327 average in the regular season, DJ hit 4-14 with a home run in the ALDS. The rest of the Yankees lineup is just as scary, now that everyone is healthy. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gleyber Torres will all look to stay hot as they face the Astros. The Astros counter with a lineup known for contact. George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman all had varying degrees of success against the Yankees this season. Clearly with the power the Yankees have they would have the edge, but the Astros have been here before, and know what it takes to advance to the World Series.
The Yankees use their bullpen a lot, which could be a liability against Houston. They are rested, but they did pitch 13 1/3 innings in the ALDS. Because of the domination of their starters, the Astros don’t rely as much with their bullpen. Houston doesn’t have any power throwers, and they did allow 25 baserunners against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS. The edge here rests slightly with the Yankees. They are rested with the sweep to the Twins, and will look to pitch a lot of innings again in the ALCS.
Fox has the rights to the ALCS. Game 1 will be Saturday night at 8:08 PM EST on the local Fox affiliate. After that the games will be broadcast on FS1. With the better regular season record, the Astros will have home field advantage and host Games 1-2 and 6-7. Yankee Stadium will host Games 3-5.
No team has any major injuries of note, although it will be worth watching to see how Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman recover from their minor injuries sustained in the ALDS.
Featured image courtesy of Sports Illustrated
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