ALCS betting preview: New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros
Starting PitchingThe Astros have an imposing advantage in starting pitching, as they boast arguably the most feared trio in baseball—Justin Verlander (21-6, 2.58 ERA), Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50 ERA) and Zack Greinke (18-5, 2.93 ERA). With Verlander and Cole likely needing rest after starts in Game 4 and Game 5 of their ALDS against the Rays, Greinke (more on him later) is the likely candidate to start Game 1.
Astros' Gerrit ColeRegular Season K%: 39.9% Postseason K%: 46.3% Regular Season BB%: 5.9% Postseason BB%: 5.6% K-BB% Regular Season: 34.0% K-BB% Postseason: 40.7% If you thought Cole was good during the regular season, he's been even better through two playoff starts. — Devan Fink (@DevanFink) October 11, 2019
BullpenBaseball fans have been hearing about the Yankees’ vaunted bullpen for a few years now, but they could actually have the inferior unit in this matchup. Houston recorded a 3.75 bullpen ERA during the regular season, second in the majors, while New York was ninth at 4.08.
The Astros have long men like Wade Miley and Josh James set to eat innings, with Will Harris and closer Roberto Osuna at the back of the bullpen. The Yankees have a similar setup, with Chad Green and J.A. Happ capable of pitching multiple innings and Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino and Aroldis Chapman on the back end.
Roberto Osuna faced the Yankees three times in the regular season: - 3.0 IP - 2 saves - 2 strikeouts - 1 baserunner He’s not above criticism. But bottom line: he’s a good pitcher and this is a good matchup for him.— Matt Hammond (@MattHammondShow) October 11, 2019
New York may have more quality arms to turn to, but they’ll be exposed over time if their starters don’t deliver.
LineupIt’s seldom a good idea to overreact to small sample sizes, but the Yankees certainly looked like the better offensive team in their ALDS. Second baseman Gleyber Torres had a team-high 1.378 OPS, and shortstop Didi Gregorius was close behind at 1.200. Outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were kept relatively quiet, if only because the Twins seemed scared to pitch to them. Each slugger drew four walks in three games.
The Astros got great performances from infielders Jose Altuve (1.281 OPS) and Alex Bregman (1.097 OPS) and rookie outfielder Yordan Alvarez (.824 OPS) in their ALDS, but guys like shortstop Carlos Correa (3-for-19) and outfielder Josh Reddick (1-for-10) faded into the background. It will take a team effort to outshine the Yankees’ homer-happy lineup.