Houston Astros vs New York Yankees (10/22/22) Starting Lineup, Betting Odds, Prediction

The Houston Astros might be unbeatable. The lineup is too good, the pitching staff is too good, and the bullpen is unstoppable. The Astros have stifled the Yankees’ hard-hitting offense through two games and now stand in a commanding position to win their second-straight pennant and fourth in the last six seasons.

How do the Yankees dig themselves out of this hole? Can they?

Luckily, the Yankees will be starting their ace today. Gerrit Cole was given the bag for this game, and he needs to shove to save the Yankees’ season.

So, where does the value lie Saturday afternoon in the Bronx?

Let’s break it down. Read on for the starting lineups, predictions, and betting odds for Game 3 of the National League Championship series.

Houston Astros vs New York Yankees Odds

The biggest shift in odds since open is when the Astros decided to switch out Lance McCullers Jr. for Cristian Javier. The reason was a bit odd:

This shifted the line a few cents toward Houston, bringing the Astros to about +125 across the market.

The over has taken the sharp money, moving from 7 (+105) to 7 (+100).

Houston Astros Starting Lineup

2B J. Altuve R
SS J. Pena R
LF Y. Alvarez L
3B A. Bregman R
RF K. Tucker L
1B Y. Gurriel R
DH T. Mancini R
CF C. McCormick R
C M. Maldonado R

Houston Astros vs Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole is back to face the team he lost the 2019 World Series with. Cole’s always been a good postseason pitcher, although maybe not as dominant as he can be.

Cole looked excellent in two games against Cleveland, pitching 13 ⅓ innings of three-run ball and guiding the Yankees to wins in Game 1 and Game 5. He’s struck out 16 batters and walked just two across the starts.

But that was against Cleveland. The Guardians have a horrendous offense, and you cannot compare them to the Astros.

How has Cole fared against Houston?

Cole has made three starts against the Astros in the last two years with a 1.17 ERA. He’s allowed just three runs over 24 innings with a 24:4 K/BB ratio. He’s been dominant.

The Astros have put themselves in this spot mostly because of their pitching. The hitting has mostly been timely, but not overwhelming. They’ve scored just 12 runs since Game 2 against Seattle, yet are still undefeated during this playoff run.

There are just so many dangerous hitters in this lineup. Alex Bregman was the savior in Game 2, while Yuli Gurriel, Chas McCormick, and Jeremy Pena all hit home runs in Game 1. Yordan Alvarez was the savior during the ALDS, and he’s still slashing .238/.360/.571 this postseason.

New York Yankees Starting Lineup

2B DJ LeMahieu R
RF A. Judge R
1B A. Rizzo L
3B J. Donaldson R
DH G. Stanton R
LF O. Cabrera S
CF H. Bader R
SS I. Kiner-Falefa R
C J. Trevino R

New York Yankees vs Cristian Javier

The Astros have had 20 pitchers throw at least one inning this season, and 18 finished with an ERA under 4.00. That is absurd. It’s one of the best group pitching performances I’ve ever seen.

Cristian Javier was the third-most valuable pitcher in the rotation by fWAR (3.4). He pitched almost 150 innings this season with a whopping 2.54 ERA. His expected statistics show he’s due for a bit of negative regression, and his high strand rate is worrisome.

Javier’s 26% ground-ball rate would be worrisome if he weren’t so effective at producing soft contact, especially with his slider and curveball (both around 84mph avg. exit velocity). Most of the batted balls off him are pop-ups.

Javier attacks you with his fastball and then mixes it up with his slider, both of which play due to high spin rates. The spin rate on his slider has jumped significantly, although it seems to have had the largest effect on his fastball, which has jumped from a -1 Run Value last season to a -18 Run Value this season.

chart 2022 10 21T180713.610

Image credit: Baseball Savant

I don’t know what the Yankees are going to do. The whole lineup is slashing .138/.200/.262 this series. The pinch hitters – specifically Matt Carpenter – have done nothing. The sluggers have done nothing, as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are a combined 3-for-16. The Yankees haven’t scored a single run off of a Houston reliever.

Someone needs to wake up. But the only guy with multiple hits of Javier in his career is Isiah Kiner-Falefa (3-for-12, one HR). The rest of the lineup is a combined 1-for-36 lifetime off the Houston righty.

Houston Astros vs New York Yankees Pick & Prediction

My picks: Houston Astros ML (+125 at DraftKings Sportsbook) | Under 7 (-115 at PointsBet Sportsbook)

I don’t care that this series is returning to New York. The Yankees haven’t produced anything against Houston’s pitching staff and are now facing a pitcher who has dominated them this season. The Yankees xSLG off Javier is less than .200.

The Astros won’t get much, either. But the lineup has too many weapons, and Cole, for all his greatness, is vulnerable to the long ball. The Astros have managed all their runs on the long ball this year, and I’m sure Alvarez can knock one over the short porch.

This game screams a 2-0 Astros victory. I’ll bet that Houston wins and the under hits in Game 3.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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