The first two ALCS games between the New York Yankees and Houston Astros were pitching duels as the teams combined to score six runs in the two games played in Houston. The series now shifts to the Bronx and the Yankees are looking to get back in the series.
Home field advantage was a major factor in the first two games of this series. With the Yankees returning home, they hope that they can gain momentum from a loud Yankee Stadium and that the bats will wake up. Houston has only lost one game all postseason, and that was on the road in Game 3 in the ALDS.
Pitching Matchup: Charlie Morton (RHP) vs. C.C. Sabathia (LHP)
C.C. Sabathia led the Yankees to a 5-2 win over the Cleveland Indians in Game 5 of the ALDS last week. Sabathia has a 3.72 ERA in two postseason starts this season and has struck out 14 in 9.2 innings. Although he doesn’t give the team the length he once did, the team seems to play well behind him. Sabathia has been on a roll lately and throughout the season has been the Yankees stopper. In 10 starts after a loss, Sabathia is 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA. The best way to know if Sabathia is on his game is if he is generating soft contact. This will be key especially against a team that puts the ball in play like Houston.
Charlie Morton did not have the start to the postseason he was hoping for and lasted only 4.2 innings against the Red Sox in the ALDS. Morton had his best season since 2013 in going 14-7 with a 3.62 ERA, saving his career. The 30-year-old right-hander gave the Yankees trouble in his lone start against them in May. He allowed four runs in 5.2 innings but those numbers don’t show what Morton really did that night. He did a great job of keeping the Yankees off guard and they took time to adjust to his pitching style. His fastball has life with a lot of movement, and it gave the Yankees trouble.
|Astros Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|George Springer, CF||1||.292||.370|
|Josh Reddick, RF||0||.250||.308|
|Jose Altuve, 2B||3||.565||.630|
|Carlos Correa, SS||3||.292||.370|
|Marwin Gonzalez, LF||0||.143||.217|
|Yuli Gurriel, 1B||0||.500||.542|
|Carlos Beltran, DH||0||.182||.250|
|Alex Bregman, 3B||2||.217||.250|
|Brian McCann, C||0||.091||.130|
|Yankees Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|Brett Gardner, LF||1||.313||.361|
|Aaron Judge, RF||1||.129||.270|
|Didi Gregorius, SS|
|Gary Sanchez, C||2||.176||.200|
|Greg Bird, 1B||3||.250||.382|
|Starlin Castro, 2B||0||.242||.265|
|Aaron Hicks, CF||1||.276||.323|
|Todd Frazier, 3B||0||.185||.241|
|Chase Headley, DH||0||.000||.063|
Who’s Hot and Who’s Not?
All the talk of the last week is how Aaron Judge has struggled, but that too can be said about fellow Baby Bomber Gary Sanchez. In seven at-bats during the ALCS, Sanchez has struck out five times and hasn’t even looked competitive at the plate. Sanchez’s hole at the bottom of the strike zone is being heavily exposed by the Astros pitching staff and Sanchez keeps going for pitches in that spot. Until he adjusts to lay off those pitches, Sanchez will continue to struggle.
Oppositely, Jose Altuve has been on a tear throughout this ALCS. He is 5 for 8 which is a .625 batting average against Yankee pitching. Besides the hot bat, every time Altuve is on base, he seems to manufacture a run by himself. Altuve is showing Yankee fans why he is considered to be the American League MVP and might single-handedly win this series for Houston.
Prediction: Astros 3 Yankees 2
The Astros will continue to give the Yankees fits offensively as Altuve will continue his hot ALCS. Charlie Morton will give up two runs over five innings and the Astros bullpen will shut the door. C.C. Sabathia will continue his hot postseason, but New York’s bats will continue to struggle. New York has struck out 27 times in the first two games of the series, which will become a major factor yet again.
Where to Watch?
First pitch is scheduled for a little after 8:00 PM EST and can be seen on FS1.
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