NY Yankees at Houston Astros Pick – ALCS Game 1
New York Yankees (106-59) vs. Houston Astros (110-57)
When: 8:07 p.m., Saturday, October 12
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston
Moneyline: NYY +145/HOU -155 (Pinnacle)
Runline: Yankees +1.5/Astros -1.5
Starting Pitchers: Masahiro Tanaka (11-9, 4.45 ERA, 1.24 WHIP regular season; 1-0, 1.80 ERA, 0.80 WHIP post-season) vs. Zack Greinke (18-5, 2.93 ERA, 0.98 WHIP regular season; 0-1, 14.73 ERA, 1.64 WHIP postseason)
Layoff vs. Action
Game 1 of a series where one team got pushed to the limit in the previous round, and the other cruised to a sweep is always an interesting quandary. That’s truer in baseball than it is in any other sport because, in base-ball, a team gets so used to playing almost every day that players often don’t know what day it is. So that begs the question: is it helpful to have been playing each day as usual, like the Astros did, or did the Yankees benefit from getting to catch their breath while Houston had to ward off Tampa Bay?At this point in the season, I lean toward getting the extra rest. When you’re at it for six months, it takes a serious toll on your body. Being able to rest and collect your thoughts can make a world of difference, and the Yankees might have a mental edge in Game 1 as a result.
Enigma On and Off
Zack Greinke has been one of the best starters in baseball for years — and one of the most mind-bending. The story of Greinke’s enigmatic yet endearing behavior is well-known in baseball circles, but what’s not so endearing are his failures on the mound in the postseason. In his past three playoff starts, he’s 0-2 with a 10.95 ERA, and the only reason he’s not 0-3 is that Jon Gray was worse for the Rockies in the 2017 NL Wild Card Game, allowing the Diamondbacks to bail Greinke out and reach the NLDS. Against the Rays, it was his worst start yet, conceding six runs in 3.2 innings.
What’s clear is that the Astros will need the regular-season version of Greinke if they’re going to go anywhere in this series, given how the pitching matchups fall. Houston will be able to set up aces Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in Games 2, 3, 6, and 7, but the Astros might not be able to get to a sixth game without at least one solid performance from Greinke.
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One big reason that the rest might help the Yankees is because it allowed them to give their bullpen several days off. Houston’s strategy relies on its aces, but New York isn’t blessed with the same kind of pitching prowess at the top of its rotation. Instead, the Yankees count on their starters to just get them through the lineup twice and let the bullpen do the rest. During the Twins’ series, 41 of Minnesota’s 81 outs came against the Yankee bullpen.
So Tanaka might be the starter on Saturday but expect Aaron Boone to have a quick hook if things go south for him. The Yankees have a fully rested bullpen, giving them a lot of flexibility in a situation where they just need to grab a split with the Astros.
The HistoricalsEveryone who isn’t a Yankees fan (and they’d be happy if the series is as well-played with a different out-come) is going to be hoping for a repeat of the 2017 ALCS, a true classic that saw the teams give it everything they had for seven grueling games. The Astros won that matchup four games to three, just like they did the 2019 season series between the teams.
- The Yankees are 13-3 in Tanaka’s last 16 starts on grass.
- The Yankees are 4-12 in their past 16 ALCS games.
- The Astros are 0-4 in their past four ALCS games.
- The Astros are 4-1 in Greinke’s past five starts.
- The over is 4-0 in Tanaka’s past four starts.
- The over is 4-1 in Greinke’s past five home starts.
Weather ReportFall has finally arrived in Houston, and the temperature will be around 58 degrees at first pitch.
Dan’s pickThis has the potential to be a great series and one that goes the distance. But I’m hesitant to trust Greinke after his recent past, and I really don’t want to be laying the Astros’ price with him on the mound. The Yan-kees have rest working to their advantage and have the bats needed to deal with Greinke’s softer assort-ment of pitches, which could set the tone for this series. New York just needs to get one from Houston in Houston to consider this part of the series a success, and I think this is the one where it comes. Give me the Yankees.
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