After a 4-2 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the ALCS, can the New York Yankees tie up the series before Saturday’s home game in ALCS Game 2?
New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros
Thursday, October 20, 2022 – 07:37 PM EDT at Minute Maid Park
What Happened in Game 1?
The Houston Astros jumped out in front of the New York Yankees in the ALCS after earning a 4-2 victory in Game 1 last night.
The Yankees haven’t earned more than six hits in any postseason game this year. Meanwhile, the Astros had seven hits and scored runs off of Clarke Schmidt, who had a tough time out of the bullpen in the postseason.
The Yankees are hopeful that they’ll be able to bring the ALCS back home on Saturday, all tied up at one.
Who Starts for the Astros Today?
The Astros will send out Framber Valdez for tonight’s game. Valdez is a left-handed pitcher with a 3.18 ERA in the postseason.
In the last 30 days, he’s holding a 3.06 xFIP with 24.2% of strikeouts. However, he’s still walked 8.1% of batters and has allowed a .369 BABIP. Over the last month, Valdez is earning 65.4% of ground balls and keeping line drives down to 17.3%.
However, lefties have hit Valdez with a .235 ISO in their last 17 plate appearances. Meanwhile, righties have a .353 wOBA against Valdez in his previous 82 plate appearances. Those are below-average numbers for Valdez and areas where the Yankees can attack him.
Yankees' Lineup Against Valdez
New York’s lineup has averaged about 11 plate appearances against lefties over the last 30 days. The Yankees haven’t faced many lefties recently but will get one tonight. Using the small sample size, they’ve hit a .174 ISO and wOBA of .300 over the last 30 days against lefties.
New York has struck out 23.4% of the time against lefties in that time frame. But they’ve also walked over 15% of the time and have hit 28.4% of line drives while minimizing ground balls to under 30%.
Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Harrison Bader would be the four batters to watch out for against Valdez. All are right-handed hitters with significant power against lefties.
Who Starts for the Yankees Today?
Luis Severino will pitch for the Yankees. He’s a righty with a 4.76 ERA in the postseason. However, he’s still holding a 2.93 xFIP over the last 30 days with 28.4% of strikeouts and 6.2% of walks.
Over the last 30 days, he’s been able to earn close to 53% of ground balls and has allowed under 15% of line drives in that same time frame.
Lefties and righties have struggled to earn extra-base hits against Severino, and he’s kept his wOBA against both sides of the plate to around .200.
Severino’s been dominant despite a poor start against the Guardians earlier in the postseason.
Astros' Lineup Against Severino
The Houston offense is hitting a .145 ISO and wOBA of .282 against righties over the last 30 days. The Astros have struck out 21.6% of the time in that time frame and have hit just 5.9% of walks.
Houston has also hit just over 20% of line drives but is only getting consistent power out of Jose Altuve, Jeremy Pena, and Alex Bregman. Lefties like Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker have not consistently produced against righties, although Alvarez has earned a high rate of walks.
Pick and Prediction
Although it’s a small sample size, the Yankees have way more potential offensively against lefties in this game.
The Yankees will have just one left-handed batter in the lineup. The rest of the lineup will be righties. Aaron Judge, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Jose Trevino have all hit high-line drives against lefties over the last 30 days. Everyone but Anthony Rizzo has also earned at least an 8.3% walk rate against lefties in that time frame.
New York should have many base runners by working the counts against Valdez. If Valdez makes a mistake with runners, we’ll see hard-hit line drives that will plate some runners.
On the other hand, Severino’s done a much better job limiting damage throughout the season. Plus, the Astros have struggled against righties over the last 30 days. It will not be any easier against Severino, a rising star for the Yankees.
For my MLB picks, I’ve got the Yankees at +140 taking this game.
Score Prediction: Yankees 5 - Astros 1
MLB Pick: Under 7 (-110) at BetOnline
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