The New York Yankees staved off the pesky Cleveland Guardians in five games to make another American League Championship Series. This is the Yankees’ third ALCS in six seasons.
Unfortunately, the Yankees are playing the one team that can outclass them in recent history. The Houston Astros swept the Seattle Mariners to advance to their sixth straight ALCS.
Houston also has the future AL Cy Young winner, Justin Verlander, rested and ready to throw in Game 1. The Yankees have to go with their third starter.
It’s going to be hard to beat the Astros. Do the Yankees have a chance? Or do the Yankees pose any value?
Let’s break it down. Read on for the starting lineups, predictions, and betting odds for Game 2 of the American League Championship series.
New York Yankees vs Houston Astros Odds
The Astros opened as huge favorites, but the Yankees have taken most of the money. However, that’s usual, given the Yankees are a public team.
But I would always be weary of backing a trendy underdog.
The over has taken most of the money, but the under is taking the sharp movement. We characterize that as reverse line movement, and it’s often a profitable bet signal.
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 Justin Verlander
There is no questioning Verlander’s dominance. But can he bounce back after a horrific string of postseason starts?
The Astros are 5-5 in Verlander’s last 10 starts with a 4.92 ERA and a 4.88 FIP. He’s walked 23 batters in the past 56 ⅔ postseason innings.
Most recently, Verlander was shelled for six runs on 10 hits in Game 1 of the ALDS. He struck out just three batters despite posting a 10 K/9 over the course of this season. It was an ugly start, unbefitting of a Hall of Fame pitcher.
However, it was less than 10 years ago that Verlander pitched over 50 innings of Postseason ball with an ERA under 2.00.
On this day, October 10th, 2013.
Justin Verlander was unhittable, Miggy went deep and the Tigers advanced to their third straight ALCS.
There was really nobody better in big game situations than JV. pic.twitter.com/HflfczXca9
— Woodward Tigers (@WoodwardTigers) October 10, 2022
Verlander will have to shut down a Yankees lineup that has cruised through the Postseason on the backs of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. Unsurprisingly, the Yankees have hit more home runs than any other team in the playoffs this year (nine).
Stanton has six RBIs this postseason run, but Judge was surprisingly quiet before his Game 5 home run. He’s just 4-for-20 during this postseason run, although he has four hits over the last three games.
Verlander beat the Yankees earlier this season, posting seven innings of one-run ball. However, Verlander walked one, gave up a home run, and struck out only three for a 5.65 xFIP. There could be some regression coming.
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 Jameson Taillon
Taillon managed to avoid a potential disaster in Game 5 of the ALDS thanks to the weather. He had already given up two runs to Cleveland in the Game 2 extra-innings loss, and a similar Game 5 performance would not go over well in the Bronx.
Taillon is a fine pitcher. He ate up innings with an ERA and xFIP under 4.00 and gave the Yankees a chance to win (14-5 record).
Taillon has decent stuff but has never been good at forcing weak contact. His arsenal is also rather basic, relying on a fastball-slider-curveball combination while mixing in a sinker. He’s very controlled and doesn’t walk anyone, but he’ll never overpower anyone else.
It will be very tough for Taillon to compete against Houston. Houston has the highest team SLG this postseason of the four remaining contestants. Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman, and Jeremy Pena have all been excellent.
But Yordan Alvarez has been transcendent. He’s hit more home runs and recorded more RBIs during this postseason run than any other player, including two go-ahead home runs against Seattle in the ALDS.
Judge is the regular season MVP, but Alvarez is ready to claim the ALCS and WS MVPs:
Aaron Judge in the 2022 ALDS:
Yordan Alvarez in the 2022 ALDS:
— Michael Schwab (@michaelschwab13) October 14, 2022
Talk matchup for team against opposing team/pitcher.
New York Yankees vs Houston Astros Pick & Prediction
Find a bet you like from the game – can be player prop, game pick, first 5 inning, whatever.
My picks: Houston Astros -1.5 (+114 at Barstool Sportsbook)
This tweet has me thinking:
Yankees are chugging beers and champagne in their clubhouse, celebrating.
24 hours from right now, they will face Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander in a stadium over 1,600 miles away.
— Chris Gordy (@ChrisGordy) October 18, 2022
The Yankees are in a tough spot going up against a pitcher that needs a bounce-back game. I think this is going to be too much to overcome. Plus, the bullpen is tired and hurt.
Meanwhile, the Astros are rested from the top of the rotation to the back end of the bullpen. And the offense can compete with the Yankees from a slugging and on-base perspective.
The Yankees can still win this series, but not after the Game 5 win or after the travel schedule.