Can Justin Verlander get back in form for the ALCS against the Yankees? Here are our thoughts on the ALCS Game 1 between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros
Wednesday, October 19, 2022 – 07:37 PM EDT at Minute Maid Park
The New York Yankees will travel to Houston for the first ALCS game after knocking off the Cleveland Guardians in five games in the ALDS.
The Astros have been chilling after a 3-0 sweep over the Mariners. They’re well-rested and should have the advantage at least early on.
The AL’s two best teams have made the ALCS, unlike the National League side. That’s at least convincing. The Wild Card was a three-game series. The Divisional Series was a five-game series. Now the Championship series will be best-of-seven.
Who Starts for the Astros?
Justin Verlander will get the start for the Astros. The Houston Astros have had all the rest that they’ve needed. The starting rotation will begin with Justin Verlander tonight.
Verlander has a 13.50 ERA in the postseason, but still has a 3.10 xFIP over the last 30 days. The right-hander has also struck out 28.4% of batters while allowing 3.4% of walks.
Verlander vs. Yankees' Batters
Batters are still hitting a .362 BABIP against Verlander in the last 30 days. He’s induced just 31% of ground balls and has given up 26.2% of line drives in the same time frame.
He’s been solid against lefties. It’s the righties where Verlander is struggling. Verlander has allowed his last 26 righties to hit a .426 wOBA and ISO of .208.
Two righties in the New York lineup can do severe damage. Those righties include Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Those power sluggers hit home runs yesterday to help the Yankees move on to the ALCS.
Judge is hitting a .333 ISO and wOBA of .431 over his last 76 plate appearances against righties, while Stanton has hit a .313 ISO against his last 55 righties.
Who Starts for the Yankees?
Jameson Taillon gets the call for the Yankees. Jameson Taillon was going to pitch in Game 5 of the ALDS until the game got postponed.
Nestor Cortes got the start, and now Taillon will be given the Game 1 start against the Astros in the ALCS. Taillon is 0-1 in the postseason after allowing three runners in Game 2 of the ALDS in the 10th inning.
He’s still got an xFIP of 4.11 with 23.5% of strikeouts and 3.7% of walks. He won’t earn a high amount of grounders and gives up a solid amount of power, but overall, he’s been good enough.
Taillon vs. Astros' Batters
Lefties have a wOBA of .403 against Taillon with a .160 ISO. Meanwhile, righties are hitting a .264 wOBA and ISO of .154. He’s about as average as it gets.
Houston’s offense is hitting a .149 ISO and wOBA of .294 against righties in their last month. That’s below average. But two lefties can destroy Taillon, including Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker.
Jose Altuve has been the only elite hitter against righties for Houston heading into this game, with a .296 ISO and wOBA of .361 in his last 59 plate appearances against righties.
Yankees vs. Astros Prediction and Pick
I don’t expect the Yankees to have a hit parade tonight, coming into Houston late for the first ALCS series game. The Yankees struggled to get more than 6 hits in every game against the Guardians in the ALDS.
The offense isn’t going to string together hits. Instead, the Yankees are going to need the power to win games. The Astros certainly haven’t been consistent with their bats, either.
It took 18 innings for the Astros to score one run against the Mariners in the third game of the ALDS. Of course, the Astros didn’t allow a run in that game to win 1-0.
The pitching has been hot and cold. Justin Verlander has struggled, but other guys have stepped up, including Lance McCullers.
The Verlander start against the Mariners was a bit odd. But I’m not holding that start against him. He’s Justin Verlander. He’ll win the Al Cy Young this year and is the guy you want on the mound in big playoff moments.
I’ll take the Astros to win and the Under at 6.5. If Taillon struggles early, he’ll have an early exit. I’m not too worried about that. The bullpen of the Yankees should be good enough to hold this game tight.
Score Prediction: Astros 3 - Yankees 1
MLB Pick: Under 6.5 (+105) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.