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Yankees/Astros

Dallas Keuchel tossed seven shutout innings and the Astros’ bullpen survived a late Greg Bird home run to give Houston a Game 1 win and a 1-0 lead in the ALCS. Game 2 pits Astros midseason acquisition Justin Verlander against Yankees regular-season ace Luis Severino, as New York attempts to avoid falling into an 2-0 hole for the second consecutive series. Only two teams in MLB history have overcome two 0-2 playoff deficits in the same season, the 1981 Dodgers and the 1985 Royals.

Verlander turned on the jets after arriving in Houston, posting a 1.06 ERA and a 43/5 K/BB ratio in 34 innings. Verlander is no stranger to squaring off against the Yankee mystique in the postseason. This afternoon will be his fifth start in October against the Bronx Bombers, albeit his first since the 2012 ALCS. Verlander didn’t face the Yankees in 2017. In fact, three hitters in the Yankees’ projected lineup—Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez—have never faced Houston’s right-hander.

Severino gets the call after recovering from a disastrous Wild Card start with a solid performance against Cleveland in Game 4 of the ALDS, allowing three runs in seven innings with nine strikeouts as part of a 7-3 Yankees win. Including the postseason, Severino has tossed 200 2/3 innings this year, exceeding his previous career-high (including the minors) by 39 innings. Severino struggled against the Astros in 2017, failing to get out of the third inning at Yankee Stadium on May 14 and losing in Houston on July 2.

New York Yankees (Luis Severino) at Houston Astros (Justin Verlander), 4:00 PM ET

PECOTA odds of winning: 60% Astros, 40% Yankees

Projected Starting Lineups

Yankees vs. Verlander (R)

Astros vs. Severino (R)

Brett Gardner (L), LF

George Springer (R), CF

Aaron Judge (R), RF

Josh Reddick (L), RF

Didi Gregorius (L), SS

Jose Altuve (R), 2B

Gary Sanchez (R), C

Carlos Correa (R), SS

Greg Bird (L), 1B

Marwin Gonzalez (S), LF

Starlin Castro (R), 2B

Alex Bregman (R), 3B

Aaron Hicks (S), CF

Yulieski Gurriel (R), 1B

Todd Frazier (R), 3B

Carlos Beltran (S), DH

Chase Headley (S), DH

Brian McCann (L), C

Injuries/Availability

After Matt Holliday’s 0-for-3 performance in Game 1, the Yankees’ designated hitters are now 0-for-19 in the playoffs. Short of giving Ronald Torreyes a start and moving one of his infielders to DH, Joe Girardi will simply have to hope that one of his slumping DHs busts out. Chad Green’s two innings out of the pen last night gave everyone else in the Yankees’ bullpen some much needed rest after a taxing series against Cleveland.

After throwing 37 pitches to nail down the win in Game 1, Giles availability will be limited at best in Game 2. Verlander is pitching on full rest after his 40-pitch relief appearance in the ALDS clincher against the Red Sox. Monday’s outing was the first relief appearance of Verlander’s professional career, postseason or otherwise.

Outlook

PECOTA saw the Astros as a 58 percent favorite in Game 1. In Game 2, PECOTA likes the Astros’ chances slightly more, giving Houston a 60 percent chance to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Verlander’s whiff rate has dropped significantly in the postseason. If this trend holds, the odds could shift New York’s way.

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