The New York Yankees trail the Houston Astros 2-0 in the ALCS heading into Saturday. The Yankees hung around against the Astros in both road games, but couldn’t quite get over the hump.
The Astros still have a home-field advantage. The Yankees will get three straight home games now. Even if they lost all three games at Yankee Stadium, Houston would still have the advantage and play the remaining two at home.
Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees
Saturday, October 22, 2022 – 05:07 PM EDT at Yankee Stadium
No Starter Has Been Announced for the Astros
The Astros haven’t announced a starter for their game on Saturday. It’ll be between Lance McCullers, Christian Javier, and Luis Garcia.
All three of those pitchers are great options. In the last 30 days, Christian Javier has thrown two games. He’s got an xFIP of 2.59 over that time frame. He’s struck out over 11 batters per nine innings and has walked just 1.5 batters per nine. His BABIP is sitting at .143, but he’s only induced 23.8% of grounders.
Meanwhile, Luis Garcia is 2-0 in two starts. He’s struck out just 7.5 batters per nine innings but has kept down. He’s got a BABIP of .194 and has induced 56.3% of ground balls. His xFIP is a bit higher at 3.18, but still very good.
Lastly, McCullers has struck out 9 batters per 9 innings but has also walked over 2 batters per 9. His BABIP is sitting at .303, but he’s induced over 65% of ground balls. His xFIP has stood at 2.60 in the last 30 days.
Astros' Pitchers vs. Yankees' Batters
So no matter the Astros' direction, they’ll have a quality pitcher on the mound. I’d likely go with McCullers, knowing he’s been the most unlucky of the bunch.
With a 2-0 lead, I’d instead go that direction, knowing that you have other pitchers with a better track record behind him.
Either way, the Yankees haven’t hit more than 6 hits in any game in the postseason. As long as Houston keeps the home runs off the board, they’ll be able to work around New York.
Gerrit Cole Gets Call for Yankees
The Yankees will have their star pitcher in what is close to a “must-win” situation. If the Yankees lose on Saturday, they’ll be down 3-0 in a best-of-7 series, needing four wins, while the Astros would need one.
Gerrit Cole has struck out 10.31 batters per nine innings over the last 30 days but has also allowed nearly 2 home runs per 9.
Those home run numbers have haunted him all season long, but he’s still holding a 2.61 xFIP over the last month.
Cole vs. Astros' Batters
The Astros haven’t been consistent offensively against righties. Only Jose Altuve, Jeremy Pena, and Alex Bregman have shown off constant power.
In Game 2, Bregman hit a three-run homer, which proved to be the difference, smacking the homer off a righty in Luis Severino.
Cole’s going to have to limit those home runs. The Yankees are 2-0 in Cole starts. He has a 2.03 ERA and has pitched lights out for most of the season, minus a bad inning here and there.
Pick and Prediction
At home, with Cole on the mound, I’ve got the Yankees earning one back on Saturday. The offense needs to start stringing together some hits against Houston, as they’ve had to go up against some really good pitching.
But even if they get some infield hits or whatever, it’ll help. New York can’t continue to strike out at a high rate and expect to win games when they’re not putting the ball in play.
The Yankees also need to take advantage of the Houston lineup that also hasn’t been very consistent offensively in the last month. No matter who the Astros pitch on Saturday, they won’t have an easy matchup.
But New York does have the more consistent offense against righties heading into this game. I’ll grab the Yankees and the Under for this matchup's MLB picks.
MLB Pick: Under 7 (-120) at BetOnline
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