Yankees vs Astros: ALCS Championship Series Predictions
After the Yankees blew a five-run advantage in Game 2 of their divisional series against Cleveland, it seemed a formality that the Indians would advance. Improbably, the Yankees then reeled off three straight wins against an Indians team that hadn't lost that many consecutive games since July 30-Aug 1. These Yankees are opportunistic, young and ambitious. They'll meet a Houston team that has been a buzzsaw all season and in their dismantling of Boston in the playoffs.
The Astros have the most potent lineup in baseball and the Yankees have the most dominant bullpen. Let's examine some other factors that may create a betting edge in this blockbuster series.
ALCS Odds - New York (+150) vs Houston (-180)
Despite the obvious advantages Houston has in this series, the Yankees have enough weapons to make them worth a wager at +150. If the Baby Bombers can steal Game 1 against Keuchel or Game 2 against Verlander, they will be playing with house money. When this series shifts to the bright lights of NYC anything is possible.
Take the New York Yankees +150 for the series.
There's no getting around the fact that Houston is going to score runs. The Astros led Major League Baseball in batting average and did so while strking out the fewest number of times per plate appearance. Sometimes great offensive teams struggle in the postseason where great pitching has a tendency to take over, but the Astros were in batting practice mode in their divisional series against Boston, with a team average of .333 and a total of eight home runs.
Strength Vs. Strength
Here, we're obviously talking about the Astros hitters against the Yankees relievers. But how early and often that matchup develops is the key. In other words, the Yankees starters must pitch well enough and deep enough into games to leverage the powerful arms of guys like Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Tommy Kahnle and Chad Green out of the pen.
For their part, the Astros have quality starters, but its relievers have been less reliable. The Yankees lineup must get into the Astros bullpen in order to be successful in this series.
Houston relievers Francisco Liriano, Lance McCullers, Chris Devenski and Joe Musgrave are middling types of hurlers who have all been hittable of late. All four guys threw in Game 3 of the Boston series and none were particularly effective.
Keys for a Yankees Win
The Yankees have a big shot in this series, but they need a lot of breaks to go their way.
CC Sabathia got into a grove in two starts versus Cleveland and will have to be even better in this series for the Yankees to win. They'll also need continued support from Game 1 starter Masahiro Tanaka who was valient in Game 4 of the Cleveland series.
Didi Gregorious and Aaron Judge have anchored the Yankees lineup, but they'll need more bats to match runs with Houston. Anytime this Yankees squad can get to the later innings with a lead, they have to feel good about their chances.
Keys for an Astros Win
If Houston can get quality starts from former Cy Young winners Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel in this series, they will be tough to beat. This lineup is the best we've seen for quite some time in Major League Baseball, but slumps can happen to anyone at anytime.
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