2017 American League Championship Series, Game 6
Houston Astros (2-3) vs. New York Yankees (3-2), Oct. 20, 2017, 7:08 p.m. CDT
RHP Justin Verlander (3-0, 2.04 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, .250 BABIP, 4.61 xFIP in the playoffs) vs. RHP Luis Severino (1-0, 5.56 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .172 BABIP, 5.14 xFIP in the playoffs)
The Houston Astros season has come down to one game. A loss and it’s over. The Astros head home with a 101-win regular season, win in the ALDS, and the Sport Illustrated curse is fulfilled.
Thankfully for the Astros they have Justin Verlander on the mound. Verlander has been equally good during the regular season and in the playoffs for the Astros. He is 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in five starts in the regular season and he has allowed four earned runs over 17 2⁄3 playoff innings in 2017.
The Astros have the right man on the mound, especially after a complete game shutout of The Bronx Bombers in game two. Verlander gets another crack at the Yankees at home at Minute Maid Park.
Verlander is 4-0 with a 2.82 ERA in eight regular season starts at Minute Maid Park and he is 6-7 with a 3.87 ERA in 18 career starts against the Yankees — including nine earned runs over his last 20 1⁄3 innings.
The Yankees will send out Luis Severino. The major question for the Yankees is will the Yankees get good Severino or bad Severino? The Astros have forced bad Severino but he was able to go toe-to-toe with Verlander in game two.
In his career Severino is 0-1 with a 8.38 ERA in three games against the Astros. The two career starts came in 2017, he allowed nine runs over 7 2⁄3 innings.
The Houston Astros can only hope to go up from here. Because their offense has struggled mightily. Houston has a .147 average in the ALCS. It is the lowest batting average in baseball history during a playoff series since the 1969 World Series where the Orioles batted .146 against the Mets.
Three of the biggest culprits of failure for the Astros have been George Springer, Marwin Gonzalez, and Josh Reddick. Springer is 2-for-21, Gonzalez is 2-for-16, and 1-for-19 in the ALCS. If Houston hopes to even get a chance at a game seven on of these three guys have to break out.
Gonzalez and Cameron Maybin have home runs in their careers against Severino. Josh Reddick is batting .429 (3-for-7) during the regular season against the righty.
Astros career stats against Luis Severino
Of course Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge have woken up. Judge is batting .313 (5x16) with four extra-base hits in the ALCS and Sanchez is batting .167 (3x18) with two extra-base hits. But both hadn’t seen Verlander before the playoffs and neither were success in Game 2.
Yankees career stats against Justin Verlander
Keys to success
The Astros will live and die by Justin Verlander starts on Friday. He showed what he can do in game two with a complete game. But the Astros need at least six or seven strong innings and hope the offense gets their legs under them.
Top of the Astros lineup
The Astros need a run early and need it bad. Josh Reddick needs break out of his slump and take advantage of a right-handed pitcher.
Ken Giles will pitch in this game at some point. No matter what. He has to be nails.