The New York Yankees have the momentum advantage heading into Game 6 in Houston tonight and have the Houston Astros on the ropes. On that alone, they should be favored to win tonight.
But make no mistake, folks. Nothing is guaranteed in the playoffs and stranger things have happened to teams up 3-2 in a series. Both teams are sending top arms to the mound, so tonight could well be a classic in the making.
Pitching matchup: Luis Severino (RHP) vs Justin Verlander (RHP)
Here, we have a Game 2 rematch that was, in a word, a duel. Severino allowed one run on two hits and had six strikeouts with two walks, but only lasted four innings and left the game after taking a comebacker to the mound off of his left wrist. Manager Joe Girardi then said after the game that Severino was favoring his throwing shoulder, but team doctors cleared him and there have been no further issues ahead of tonight’s game.
Verlander, however, was dominant as can be in Game 2. He pitched nine strong innings and allowed just a single run on five hits, and he also had 13 strikeouts thanks to throwing off the timing of New York’s hitters with his fastball. Make no mistake, tonight is going to be a close one with these two on the mound and if the Yankees don’t adjust to Verlander like they did Dallas Keuchel in Game 5, it will be a long game on both sides.
|Astros Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|George Springer, CF||1||.257||.350|
|Josh Reddick, RF||0||.182||.250|
|Jose Altuve, 2B||3||.394||.500|
|Carlos Correa, SS||3||.250||.308|
|Yuli Gurriel, 1B||0||.382||.417|
|Alex Bregman, 3B||2||.171||.216|
|Carlos Beltran, DH||0||.176||.222|
|Marwin Gonzalez, LF||0||.167||.242|
|Brian McCann, C||0||.077||.172|
|Yankees Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|Brett Gardner, LF||1||.227||.286|
|Aaron Judge, RF||3||.200||.347|
|Gary Sanchez, C||3||.200||.213|
|Didi Gregorius, SS||3||.275||.383|
|Starlin Castro, 2B||0||.227||.261|
|Aaron Hicks, CF||1||.220||.256|
|Greg Bird, 1B||3||.265||.457|
|Chase Headley, DH||0||.217||.250|
|Todd Frazier, 3B||0||.216||.275|
Who’s hot and who’s not
At long last, Chase Headley is heating up for the Yankees in the DH spot. The switch-hitter had three hits in Game 5 and is 5 for 8 in his last three games. Powerful outfielder Aaron Judge has also been on a tear over his last three, going 4 for 9 with two home runs and six RBI. Catcher Gary Sanchez has also looked better in his last two games, going 3 for 7 with a home run and five RBI. With these chips falling into place, New York’s lineup becomes all the more dangerous.
Houston’s lineup, on the other hand, continues to struggle. Jose Altuve has not registered a hit in over ten plate appearances, and Josh Reddick has yet to have a base hit in the series. For a lineup that scored an MLB-best 894 runs in the regular season, one would never know based on its performance in this ALCS.
Prediction: Astros 2, Yankees 1
Sorry, Yankees fans, but this series is going to seven. Justin Verlander is just too good in the postseason to turn in a bad start tonight, especially now that the series is back at Minute Maid Park. He and Severino will go toe to toe for most of the game, but a late run from Houston will give them this one in a squeaker.
Where to watch?
The first pitch is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. EST and can be seen on FS1.
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