What an outstanding ALCS Game 1 we had on Friday. Dallas Keuchel was pure filth, showing once again that he owns the Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka was very very solid and it just came down to a couple clutch RBI knocks to put the Astros in front and never look back. Well as fun as that was, they aren’t wasting anytime as they are back at it today. The Yankees will look to even up the series with their young stud and CY Young candidate (I know it’s Kluber’s but Severino will get some love) in Luis Severino. The Astros will send one of their aces as well, a huge piece they acquired at the trade deadline, in Justin Verlander. Game 1 was a great pitching duel and ALCS Game 2 could like up just the same.
We all remember the 0.1 innings Severino pitched in the AL Wild Card game and were just shocked by what took place. For those that doubted Severino in the postseason…well he quickly shut that up with an outstanding 7 inning performance in the ALDS vs the Indians. He only gave up 3 runs and struck out 9 in the win. Severino has faced the Astros twice this year and similar to his teammate Tanaka, he has struggled against that insane offense. In 2 starts (one was shortened by weather) he went 7.2 IP with a 10.57 ERA while giving up 9 runs. On his July 2nd start in Houston he went 5.1 innings, gave up 6 runs and struck out 7. He has fared well vs right-handed bats this year as they’ve only hit .198 with 9 HRs while left-handed hitters have been a little better (be it not great) hitting .221 with 12 HRs. The Astros have obviously had a little success off Severino, but it has been a limited sample. The team is hitting .362 with 2 HRs off Severino with Carlos Correa going 3-4 (2 2B), Gurriel 4-5 (2B) and Marwin Gonzalez 2-5 (HR).
Justin Verlander comes into ALCS Game 2 after pitching in relief in ALDS Game 4 and picking up the series clinching win. Verlander was acquired by the Astros to pitch in games like this. He went 2-0 in the ALDS with a 3.12 ERA and will look to improve on that to give the Astros the 2-0 lead. Verlander didn’t face the Yankees at all this season and the current roster is hitting .258 off Verlander with 5 total HRs (Didi Gregorius/Chase Headley/Brett Gardner/Todd Frazier 2). As you can tell with a .258 that the Yankees roster has had some success of Verlander and we all know how explosive their offense can be, but we also know how much they can strike out as they came into the postseason with 64 strikeouts and struck out 14 times in Game 1 (10 vs Keuchel). We all know Verlander can get the strikeouts in bunches when he’s on.
This is another outstanding matchup we have today. Severino and/or Verlander can easily go out there and spin gems, but at the same time we’ve seen them give up their fare share of home runs and the offenses in play can rake. The Astros are small favorites (-130) and the O/U is 7.5. I am looking at another really good ball game and the Astros use that home field advantage to take ALCS Game 2, 4-2.