Yankees vs. Astros: What to Expect
The American League Championship Series is set. The New York Yankees overcame an 0-2 deficit to take down former Red Sox nemesis, Terry Francona and the Cleveland Indianas. On the other hand, the Houston Astros took out Francona's former team in the Boston Red Sox in four games.
Game One will feature Houston's Dallas Keuchel against New York's Masahiro Tanaka
What can we expect in this match-up between David and Goliath? And David and Goliath may not be who you would normally expect.....
1). The Bronx Bombers Will be Underdogs
That's right, the big, bad New York Yankees will play the part of David in this match-up while the Astros are viewed as Goliath. The Astros won 101 games this season, ten more than the Yankees. Houston's offense was the most prolific in the league this season. They ranked first in runs scored (896), team batting average (.282), on base percentage (.346), and slugging percentage (.478). This is a group that has grown up together, they have a great mix of veterans and youth with tons of talent. The Yankees have some of that also but it feels like this team is a year ahead of schedule.
2). Bullpen Weapons Will Loom Large for Yankees
The New York Yankees have one big advantage and that's in the pen with a ton of guys Joe Girardi can lean on in whichever inning he needs to. Guys like, David Robertson, Chad Green, Adam Warren, Tommy Kahnle, and Aroldis Chapman. Another weapon in that pen that hasn't pitched well of late but is always a threat and an All-Star is Dellin Betances. The Astros simply can't match-up with what the Yankees can roll out following a starter. If games are close and it comes down to a battle of the bullpens, the Yanks clearly have the advantage there.
3). Tale of The Tape
The Yankees and the Astros matched up 7 times this season. The Stros hold the season advantage 5-2 but the series was much closer than that.... Houston outscored New York 43-41 and outhit them in team batting average (.283-.263)/home runs (11-7). Game two will pit young Luis Severino against the former Cy-Young Award winner, Justin Verlander. Game three the Yankees will throw C.C. Sabathia and game four will be Sonny Gray. As far as the Astros go they haven't yet announced their starters for the rest of the series but if I had to guess it would be the same as the ALDS. Brad Peacock in game three and Charlie Morton in game four.
I expect this to be a very exciting series with plenty of pitching strategy and individual battles. Ultimately I think it comes down to how the Houston starters fare against the Baby Bronx Bombers and whether or not this series turns into a battle of the bullpens. If the starters for the Astros can give them length they'll be in good shape if not the Yankees will win this series.