Game 1 and Game 2 were both tight 2-1 games. Each games broke Houston’s way, though, so the end result of two close contests is a big 2-0 series lead for the Astros. The Yankees send CC Sabathia to the mound on regular rest coming off a solid if short outing in Game 5 of the ALDS against Cleveland. The Astros are starting Charlie Morton who will be working on six days’ rest after a similarly solid if short outing of his own in Game 4 of the ALDS against Boston.
PECOTA odds of winning: 54% Astros, 46% Yankees
Projected Starting Lineups
|Astros vs. Sabathia (L)||Yankees vs. Morton (R)|
|George Springer (R), CF||Brett Gardner (L), LF|
|Alex Bregman (R), 3B||Aaron Judge (R), RF|
|Jose Altuve (R), 2B||Didi Gregorius (L), SS|
|Carlos Correa (R), SS||Gary Sanchez (R), C|
|Yulieski Gurriel (R), DH||Greg Bird (L), 1B|
|Evan Gattis (R), C||Starlin Castro (R), 2B|
|Marwin Gonzalez (S), 1B||Aaron Hicks (S), CF|
|Josh Reddick (L), RF||Todd Frazier (R), 3B|
|Cameron Maybin (R), LF||Chase Headley (S), DH|
Neither team has any significant injury concerns heading into this game. Luis Severino seemed to have some arm discomfort in Game 2, but he insisted that he was fine after the game. He should be considered day-to-day for now, but he wouldn’t be appearing in Game 3 anyway. Jacoby Ellsbury could start at designated hitter just as easily as Headley, and Matt Holliday could pinch-hit for either of them against a left-handed reliever later in the game. As a DH trio they’ve gone hitless so far throughout the playoffs.
For the Astros, Lance McCullers erased any doubts about his health during the ALDS when he threw three innings against the Red Sox in Game 3. Against the left-handed Sabathia, Gattis will take over the DH spot while Bregman and Reddick are likely to switch spots in the lineup. Carlos Beltran, who started the first two games of the series at DH against righty starters, will be available to pinch-hit versus New York’s right-handed relievers.
If the Yankees are going to avoid going down 3-0, getting some production out of the DH slot could go a long way. The matchup of Sabathia against the Astros’ righty-heavy lineup could be problematic, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Joe Girardi go to his deep and righty-heavy bullpen early.
For the Astros, a 2-0 series advantage is obviously a great place to start. Their offense, though, hasn’t gotten on track against the Yankees yet despite being the best in baseball during the regular season. They will look to put more runs on the board than the two per game they scored in Games 1 and 2. Houston might need those runs since Morton is a lot more likely to yield crooked numbers than Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander, who held the Bronx Bombers to one run in each of the first two games of the series.