With their third consecutive home win the Yankees took a 3-2 lead in the ALCS, setting up a must-win game for the Astros in Game 6. Justin Verlander and Luis Severino lock horns in a rematch of a Game 2 that saw Verlander go the distance, setting the stage for Jose Altuve’s mad dash home with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Verlander became the first pitcher to record three starts with a Game Score of 85 or higher in postseason history. Severino has a 5.56 ERA in three playoff starts, but most of this was due to his miserable one-third of an inning against the Twins in the Wild Card game.
If the Astros are looking for silver linings besides Verlander, the Yankees are the only playoff team that had a losing record on the road during the regular season and they’re 1-3 away from the Bronx in the postseason. Silver linings or no, the skies look pretty gray for Houston, as they arguably lost their best opportunity to win the series with the back-to-back tandem of Dallas Keuchel and Verlander and must now hope that Verlander can get them to what would likely be an all-hands-on-deck contest in Game 7.
PECOTA odds of winning: 59% Astros, 41% 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||Yulieski Gurriel (R), 1B|
|Starlin Castro (R), 2B||Alex Bregman (R), 3B|
|Aaron Hicks (S), CF||Marwin Gonzalez (S), LF|
|Todd Frazier (R), 3B||Evan Gattis (R), DH|
|Chase Headley (S), DH||Brian McCann (L), C|
For A.J. Hinch, the big question doesn’t revolve around who is available but rather which reliever, if any, he has faith in during a series that has seen the Astros’ bullpen surrender eight runs in 10 2/3 innings. Aroldis Chapman hasn’t pitched since Tuesday and only threw 10 pitches then, so he could be available for a multi-inning appearance tonight.
Three consecutive wins diminish the likelihood Joe Giradi will tinker with his lineup. Chase Headley lashed three hits in Game 5, offering Girardi some rare production from the DH slot. It is unfair to point the finger at a specific player for a team that has a .447 OPS in the series, but Carlos Beltran (1-for-12), McCann (0-for-10), and Reddick (0-for-17) were all candidates for a breather in Game 6 and it’ll be Beltran taking a seat in favor of Gattis.
PECOTA believes in the power of Verlander, giving the Astros a 59 percent chance of winning Game 6 and forcing a winner-take-all contest on Saturday night. However, if the Yankees can get to Houston’s suddenly shaky bullpen the odds could shift to their favor in the late innings.