The American League Championship Series is going quite differently than many folks expected it to, with the New York Yankees dominating the series opener, then falling short in three straight games. With no days off remaining in the series and their two aces on the mound for the next two games, the Houston Astros have a good chance of reaching their second World Series in three years. They lost to Boston in last year’s ALCS, but it seems that with Alex Cora not managing against them, they can win.
For the Yankees, going 10 years without appearing in a World Series is a lot worse than it is for most teams. They have the most championships in the history of the sport with 27 but have not been AL champions since 2009. The fans were hoping to avenge their 2017 ALCS loss to Houston, but things appear to be going the same. The Astros wanted their revenge after being knocked out by Boston last year and have taken it in the form of the team from the Bronx. If the Yankees lose Game 5 on Friday night, the season would be considered a massive disappointment.
After winning the last three games, Houston is listed as the favorite with a -139 moneyline. The Yankees are +129 underdogs, with the over/under at 7.5 runs.
Astros Look To Punch Their Ticket
It took Houston a few innings to get going in Game 4, but it came in a little burst. A three-spot in the third inning took away the Yankees’ early lead, and ultimately gave the Astros the cushion they needed. They only got 4 2/3 innings from Zack Greinke, who allowed seven baserunners, but he did limit the Bronx Bombers to a single run, which was critical. The bullpen went the next 4 1/3 innings and allowed just two runs on a Gary Sanchez home run. The home runs from George Springer and Carlos Correa were enough to lift them to the win.
In his playoff career, Justin Verlander has gone 14-8 with a 3.18 ERA over 169 2/3 innings and 27 starts. He has not lost a playoff start against the Yankees, with Detroit or Houston, and is 4-0 overall in these matchups.
Yankees Try To Extend Their Season
If the Yankees continue to strand all of their runners on base, there is nothing they will be able to do to slow Houston down. They have to win to extend their campaign Friday night, and the continuing trend has been the stranded baserunners. An argument can be made that this has been an issue because the lineup changes so frequently, and with only four Yankees getting at least 130 games played, there is no continuity among them. That’s just one small excuse that could be used, but the point is they need to step up and deliver. It’s do-or-die time.
In his playoff start against Minnesota, James Paxton struck out eight batters and allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings of work. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his Game 2 start against the Astros, allowing a run on four hits. This is his third playoff start.
Yankees Stay Alive With Clutch Hitting
It won’t be because of their starting pitcher, but by the spikes on their cleats, the Yanks will squeak by in Game 5. Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu’s late-game heroics will lift their team to a win, forcing a Game 6 to be played Saturday night.
Free Play: NYY +129
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