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2018 Season Series #18: Houston Astros @ New York Yankees

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The Astros (34-20, 1st in AL West) face off against the Yankees (33-16, 2nd in AL East) in a 3 game heavyweight match up.

League Championship Series - Houston Astros v New York Yankees - Game Five
God bless those who gave it all.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Recency Bias

Houston will show up in the Bronx after a 14 inning heart breaker in Cleveland where they came within one strike of leaving with a series win a few times. Instead they leave with a series split and a 2 game losing streak, but also a strong offensive showing over the course of a 4 game road series. They plated at least 6 runs in all 4, with Altuve coming alive and snapping an 0 for 12 skid with 10 straight hits, beating and extending his old franchise record. He would find his power stroke, belting a home run, a triple, and two doubles during those 10 PAs. Springer has also been money lately, with 6 hits and 2 walks in the last 4 games, including 3 doubles and 2 homers. Special mention for Max Stassi, who appeared in all 4 games and had a hit in each, which I would assume is rare for a backup catcher. The bullpen had a rare meltdown as did McCullers, but otherwise the pitching performed about on par with the rest of the year. The Astros have their biggest test so far in 2018 ahead of them, as they will face the top two teams in the majors back to back and then the suddenly red hot Mariners, who sit one game back in the West.

The Yankees welcome Houston after a series win against the Angels in which New York’s offense was somewhat subdued. They mostly relied on their 7 to 9 hitters against LA, who had 7 of their 17 hits this weekend. One of those hitters is their big rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres, who has been red hot lately, slashing .304/.385/.957 with 5 home runs in his last 7 games even after an 0 for 3 with a walk in his last start. Judge has also been very good for New York this year, expanding on his Rookie of the Year campaign and leading his team in home runs at 14 with 39 RBI. Sanchez has been heating up lately as well, which counter balances an ice cold Stanton, who didn’t reach base against the Angels and struck out 7 times. Their bullpen has been above average in 2018, usually in the top ten in most categories, but not quite the same dominant force we saw in the 2017 playoffs. They’re better than the starting pitching though, and more than capable of taking a lead all the way when called upon. The Yanks’ goal is the same as last time: chase down the AL East leading and best in baseball Red Sox, who face Houston next.

Pitching Match Ups

Game 1: Justin Verlander, RHP (6-2, 1.08 ERA) vs. Domingo German, RHP (0-2, 5.59 ERA)

Surprise, Verlander had another good start his last time out in spite of raising his ERA to a whopping 1.08. He only went 6 IP, but gave up just a single run to go with 3 H, 1 BB, and 9 K’s. This continues what has been his best start to a season his entire career for the 35 year old. He’ll look to replicate his last appearance against the Yankees, which you can argue was even better than his CG SO against the Angels. He went 8 strong shutout innings against New York and struck out 14 with no walks while silencing one of the toughest offenses in the game.

The Yankees will counter with the young Domingo German, who you may remember from that same Verlander game when he came on to replace the injured Jordan Montgomery. He would go 4 strong innings in long relief against the ‘stros and follow that up with a no hit 6 IP in his first major league start. His most recent two games have been a completely different narrative though, with a combined 8.2 IP, 12 ER, 6 BB, 7 K’s, and he has surrendered 3 home runs. Until Montgomery returns from the DL this is probably German’s spot to lose in the rotation.

German played the offense tough his last time out against Houston, but I just don’t see him out dueling Verlander.

Game 2: Charlie Morton, RHP (7-0, 2.04 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia, LHP (2-1, 3.55 ERA)

Morton also comes in after a good game in spite of not having his best command to start. He was having a lot of difficulty spotting his fastball, which lead to a wobbly 3rd inning where the Indians would do all their damage for the game in the form of 2 runs. Beyond that he was fairly efficient, getting through the 6th inning and only allowing 2 more base runners. Morton was also the only Astro pitcher to record a win in the last series against the Yankees, going 7.2 IP and only giving up 2H, 1 ER, and 2 BB to go with 10 K’s in that start.

Meanwhile, Sabathia comes in with the shine coming off the apple of what had been looking look a good start to 2018. While he hadn’t been going deep in games, Sabathia had been effectively holding down opposing offenses, only allowing more than 1 ER in one of his first 6 starts. However, that all has change in his most recent three games. He’s only been able to get through the 5th once in that stretch and has surrendered 15 runs, 2 unearned, across 13.1 IP. He’s also walked 7 in his last two games and doesn’t appear to be fooling anyone as the season wears on.

I think Morton will be able to handle the Yankees well enough to have the advantage over Sabathia.

Game 3: Dallas Keuchel, LHP (3-6, 3.39 ERA) vs. Luis Severino, RHP (7-1, 2.28 ERA)

Dallas will start after a solid outing against Cleveland where he had to work through some traffic but was able to get the job done. He would finish the night with 6 IP and only 2 ER, but would scatter 8 hits and 1 walk over those innings. He turned in a strong performance the last time he faced the Yankees as well with 7 IP, but was burned by 3 runs from 2 home runs during that game, both off Stanton. Dallas would like to find some of his past regular season magic against the Yankees, who were slashing .170/.228/.264 against him coming in to 2018.

On the other side of the box score is Luis Severino, who is having one of the best starts to a season in his career for 2018. His last game against the Astros was his best of the year with a 9 inning complete game shutout where he fanned 10 and didn’t walk anyone. Since then he’s had an unbroken string of 5 straight starts where he has gone 6 innings and given up 2 runs or less in 4 of those and 3 in the other. He was able to hold the Angels to a single run in his last start, but did allow 4 free passes and had a season low of only 5 strikeouts.

As good as Dallas can be he just hasn’t been vintage Keuchel consistently this year while Severino is a legitimate ace and should have the advantage in this one.

Predictions

Verlander stops the bleeding.

Bregman puts one in the right field seats.

Judge puts one in the upper tank to left.

Astros Win 2-1.

You will have a good Memorial Day.

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Monday, May 28th @ 12:05 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790, La Ranchera 850 AM / Yankees - WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Yankees - YES / ESPN, ESPN (out-of-market only) / MLB.TV

Game 2: Tuesday, May 29th @ 6:05 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790, La Ranchera 850 AM / Yankees - WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Yankees - WPIX / MLB Network (out-of-market only) / MLB.TV

Game 3: Wednesday, May 30th @ 5:35 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790, La Ranchera 850 AM / Yankees - WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Yankees - YES / ESPN / MLB.TV

Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Astros Sweep 3-0
    (7 votes)
  • 47%
    Astros Win 2-1
    (55 votes)
  • 39%
    Yankees Win 2-1
    (45 votes)
  • 6%
    Yankees Sweep 3-0
    (8 votes)
115 votes total Vote Now