ALCS Game 6: New York Yankees vs Houston Astros

The Yankees are a win away from the World Series, but the Astros have home-field advantage and a chance at stealing the AL Pennant.

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.

Projected Lineups

Astros LineupHome RunsBatting AverageOn-Base Percentage
George Springer, CF1.257.350
Josh Reddick, RF0.182.250
Jose Altuve, 2B3.394.500
Carlos Correa, SS3.250.308
Yuli Gurriel, 1B0.382.417
Alex Bregman, 3B2.171.216
Carlos Beltran, DH0.176.222
Marwin Gonzalez, LF0.167.242
Brian McCann, C0.077.172
Yankees LineupHome RunsBatting AverageOn-Base Percentage
Brett Gardner, LF1.227.286
Aaron Judge, RF3.200.347
Gary Sanchez, C3.200.213
Didi Gregorius, SS3.275.383
Starlin Castro, 2B0.227.261
Aaron Hicks, CF1.220.256
Greg Bird, 1B3.265.457
Chase Headley, DH0.217.250
Todd Frazier, 3B0.216.275

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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Josh Benjamin