Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees Game 3 Pick
Houston Astros (111-58) vs. New York Yankees (107-60)
When: 4:07 p.m., Tuesday, October 15
Where: Yankee Stadium, New York
Moneyline: HOU -155/NYY +140
Runline: Astros -1.5/Yankees +1.5
Starting Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP regular season; 2-0, 0.57 ERA, 0.57 WHIP postseason) vs. Luis Severino (1-1, 1.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP regular season; 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP postseason)
Severino has gone so long without seeing the Astros that it might take Houston some time to adjust to what it’s seeing from him. The last time the Astros went up against Severino was May 30 of 2018, and the pitcher was victorious on that day, tossing seven sharp innings and striking out 11 to earn the win.
The odds are pretty high that the Yankees are going to need a similar performance from Severino on Tuesday after James Paxton was ineffective and forced Aaron Boone to blow through his bullpen in Game 2. The Yan-kees did have the advantage of a travel day, but Severino is likely going to have to give the Yankees at least five good innings to set them up for the rest of the series.
The one exception to that could be if New York chooses to gamble on the weather forecast for Game 4. The teams should be able to get through Tuesday, but massive storms are scheduled to hit New York on Wednes-day, which would likely force a rainout of Game 4 and give both teams an extra day to recover from Game 3. Both Boone and A.J. Hinch are likely to be aggressive with their bullpens and treat this game as if the teams won’t be planning to play again on Wednesday based on the forecast.
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Arm From the Past
While Severino might be an unfamiliar face to the Astros, Gerrit Cole is all too familiar to the Yankees because of his status as the one who got away. Cole was the Yankees’ first-round selection in 2008, ahead of players such as Jake Odorizzi, Wade Miley, and Charlie Blackmon, but Cole opted to go to UCLA rather than sign with the Yankees. Three years later, Cole was the top choice of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Yankees never got a chance to sign him a second time.
Cole hasn’t haunted the Yankees to this point in his career, but that’s partially because he hasn’t faced them very often. He’s spent the majority of his career in the National League before coming to Houston, and he’s never pitched in Yankee Stadium before, having avoided the Yankees in 2018 and only facing them at Minute Maid Park this season.
That makes it anyone’s guess as to how Cole will hold up in the glare of the famous ballpark. Pitching in Yan-kee Stadium is an experience like no other in baseball, and there are several pitchers who have proven una-ble to handle the pressure. Cole shouldn’t be in that group, as he’s pitched in some of the biggest pressure spots there are, but it’s still a concern.
Wild Card Wonders
This probably wasn’t what baseball had in mind when it created the wild card games, but it’s the reality of the situation: the AL Wild Card winner has appeared in four out of seven ALCS since the game was created. How-ever, the Yankees have done something that none of the other three wild card teams have managed to do; earn a split in the first two road games. The 2016 Blue Jays and 2017 Yankees both took a pair of road defeats, while the 2014 Royals won both games at Camden Yards on their way to a four-game sweep of the Orioles.
That puts the Yankees in uncharted territory, and they’ll be hoping not to repeat the fate of the two division champions who managed to earn a split in their first two ALCS games. Instead of taking control when they got home to their own park, both the 2013 Tigers and last year’s Astros lost control of the series at home, with the Tigers dropping two of three to lose in six games and Houston never getting the series back to Boston after losing all three at home.
- The Yankees are 41-10 in their past 51 home games against a right-hander.
- The Yankees are 9-2 in their past nine home playoff games.
- The Astros are 7-0 in Cole’s past seven road starts.
- The Astros are 1-5 in their past six ALCS games.
- The under is 3-0-1 in the Astros’ past four games.
- The under is 4-1 in the Yankees’ past five ALCS games.
Enjoy the nice weather while it lasts, as temperatures will hit 63 degrees in this contest before the storms arrive.
Getting plus money at home with the Yankees is tempting, especially given the bats they have throughout that lineup. But Houston has a deep lineup of its own, and there’s simply no way to go against Cole, who has not only been pitching outstanding in the playoffs but has been fantastic ever since May 22, which was the last time that Cole was the losing pitcher.
To pick against Houston means that you’re betting that the Yankees can get into the Astros’ bullpen first and hold Houston’s potent offense at bay behind Severino. While there’s no doubt that Severino has the talent, it just seems to be an unlikely outcome that he’s going to outshine Cole in this situation. He doesn’t have to outdo Cole for the Yankees to win, but a lot would have to go right for that to occur. There’s just too much uncertainty to take the chance there.
I’ll go with the Astros.
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