Last Updated: 2019-10-13
The New York Yankees overcame a few things on Saturday night that might portend well for them the rest of the way in this American League Championship Series.
For one thing, they registered an easy win over an opponent that had won 75% of their home games (regular season plus playoffs).
And for another, they were able to get an opposite field homer from Giancarlo Stanton – only his second extra-base hit in 37 post-season plate appearances.
But will we see some regression to the mean in terms of the Astros’ ability to handle teams at Minute Maid Park, where the Yankees had lost all three games in the regular season?
We’ll see. Game 2 starts at 8:05 PM ET on FOX Network. And at BetAnySports, where you can place wagers on this contest in real time with Live Betting Ultra, the Astros are a favorite with Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander, as he opposes James Paxton. We give you these numbers with reduced juice, where you’ll see a five-cent line:
Houston Astros (Verlander) -155
New York Yankees (Paxton) +150
Over 7.5 Runs -110
Under 7.5 Runs +100
Astros -1.5 Runs +135
Yankees +1.5 Runs -145
I guess this is kind of hard to say about a pitcher who was won a Cy Young, is making $31 million, had an 18-5 record and a WHIP ratio under 1.00 this season, but maybe Astros manager AJ Hinch may have thought a little more about lifting Zack Greinke after he was hit hard in the fifth inning. Yes, fortunately for him, those balls turned into outs, but it was clear that even though he was himself in the respect that he didn’t walk anyone, Greinke was not dominating many hitters out there. He proceeded to give up homers to Stanton and Gleyber Torres in the next inning.
The Yankees are difficult in a series like this because there are NO easy outs in the lineup, and the bullpen is proficient enough that you don’t need many effective innings out of the starter. They were blessed with a great outing out of Masahiro Tanaka in Game 1, as he gave up up one hit over six shutout innings, which by the way dropped his post-season ERA to 1.32 (hold onto that for future reference).
And now James Paxton has a great luxury in that he might be able to throw hard for a shorter period of time than usual, because the Yankee bullpen did not get taxed all that much.
By the way, if you’re looking for Houston to exploit some lefty-righty matchups, don’t hold your breath. The roster they have presented for this series doesn’t have one lefty on it. Not a one.
But we’re not going to make believe they don’t have a method to their madness – not a team as analytics-intensive as the Astros are. They obviously believe they have enough right-handed arms who can get left-handed hitters out. And by the way, for what it’s worth, New York only got 1-for-8 out of the left side of the plate (Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius). And Aaron Boone moved them down in the lineup for Game 1.
Paxton, the big lefty, held batters to a .177 average and 14 extra-base hits in eleven starts encompassing August and September, and he gave up just two homers in his last eight regular season outings. However, the Twins touched him up for three runs, including two homers, before he was removed in the fifth inning of Game 1 in the ALDS. Houston’s Carlos Correa is .409 lifetime with a 1.004 OPS against him.
Verlander solidified his Hall of Fame credentials with a 21-6 record, his lowest WHIP ratio ever (0.803) and his second straight year with more than a dozen strikeouts per nine innings. It would appear the only thing between him and a second Cy Young is teammate Gerrit Cole. He was brilliant in Game 1 against Tampa Bay in Game 1 of the ALDS, allowing one hit in seven innings. But he was knocked out of the box in the fourth inning of Game 4, yielding four runs and ten base runners.
In two starts against the Yankees this season, Verlander has allowed six runs (with two homers) in 13 innings. DJ LeMahieu and Didi Gregorius would seem to be the most hazardous guys for him (combined .324 average), but between them, big power guys like Edwin Encarnacion, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton are 11-for-100 against him (that’s a nifty .110) with four homers.
Verlander has staying power. In the seventh innings of games, for example, he’s held teams to a .159 average and .185 on-base (it’s .120 and .146, respectively, in the inning before) and from the sixth inning on he has 61 strikeouts and five walks.
I’d lean “under” here, but I just can’t help but think the Astros are coming in at a very reasonable price. So we’ll look that way too.
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