The 2019 Championship Series are set in the MLB. On the American League side, two powerhouses will compete for a spot in the World Series in the Yankees and Astros. Both teams finished with great regular-season records. The Astros will have home-field advantage in the series because they won 107 games this season as the Yankees finished with 103. Both teams are talented, and that could make for an interesting series. Here are three things to watch for in the 2019 ALCS:
Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Grienke. All starting pitchers on the same team. Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are even in American League Cy Young talks for 2019. If these guys can hold the Yankees stacked offense, it can help them in more than one way. One reason is obviously that the fewer runs given up the better for Houston. Another advantage could be saving their bullpen arms, which can be a big help in the Postseason. It’ll be interesting to see how the Astros will be able to pitch against this powerful New York offense.
How will Bullpens be Used?
It is not crazy to see a starting pitcher make relief appearances in the playoffs. With the potential that these offenses have, this could occur more than once. If the series gets deep, managers usually aren’t trying to conserve their pitchers, so they typically won’t be afraid to pull guys quickly. It is also an adjustment because managers had 40 guys on the roster to work with, meaning more pitchers to choose from. However, now it can be a tough choice for managers deciding who they want out on the mound in the crucial moments. Don’t be surprised to see pitchers changing quickly, especially if the offenses are hitting well.
The big situation here is Aaron Hicks. He is most likely going to be playing on the ALCS roster, and manager Aaron Boone has some decisions to make. With guys like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Brett Gardner, it could be a good thing for the Yankees. This is because certain guys may be able to hit better against some Astros pitchers than others, which can help Boone make his decision on who gets the start for certain games in the series. It could also be tough to decide who gets on the roster as Cameron Maybin is also on the Yankees, and he even hit a solo homer in one of his three at-bats of the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins.
Feature Image Courtesy of Sportsnet.