ALCS Game 2: Yankees vs Astros Game Preview

Astros Riding Perfect Postseason, Hope to Continue

Thanks to a trademark dominant start from Justin Verlander and a trio of solo home runs, the Houston Astros held serve at home in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series with a 4-2 win over the New York Yankees on Wednesday. New York had no answers for Verlander, who struck out 11 in six strong innings, only giving up a home run to Harrison Bader. Youngsters Jeremy Peña and Chas McCormick led the way offensively for Houston, going 5-for-7 with a pair of dingers. The Yankees vs Astros game preview for Thursday’s Game 2 focuses on the great pitching matchup between Framber Valdez and Luis Severino.

Houston keeps rolling, improving to a perfect 4-0 this postseason. As the favorite in this series, the Astros knew that winning Game 1 was vital, especially with the Yankees having to deal with the quick turnaround after clinching the ALDS on Tuesday night. But, Wednesday’s game was just another reminder of how any close loss to the Astros — particularly in a game in which the Yankees scored first and got a decent start from Jameson Taillon — feels like a wasted opportunity. You don’t win 106 games, like the Astros standings 2022 show, without taking advantage of opposing teams blowing prime chances.

Game Information

Game: New York Yankees (0-1) at Houston Astros (1-0)
Location: Minute Maid Park
Day/Time:
Streaming: Live Stream Sports

Astros Have Starter Edge

The battle between Valdez and Severino should be a good one but it might favor Houston even if, on paper, it looks even. Valdez is as well-rested as his last start was against the Seattle Mariners a full week ago; while Severino is on regular rest after struggling a bit with the Cleveland Guardians in the ALDS. The big question here is how much Severino will have in the tank. He did throw 106 pitches but was clearly running out of juice toward the end of his start and he has made just four starts since spending two months on the injured list with a strained lat.

The MLB runlines love Valdez too as the Astros are big favorites in Game 2.

 

Severino was unhittable toward the end of the regular season and wasn’t bad against Cleveland, but this Houston lineup is a whole different animal. The Yankees might be quick to pull him if he runs into some trouble considering that there’s an off day on Friday. The Astros could do the same with Valdez, yet he has been a true workhorse for them all season so he’ll probably get a little more leash. He might not have the high-end talent that Severino does but he’s definitely more consistent overall. The MLB runlines love Valdez too as the Astros are big favorites in Game 2.

Yankees Need Big Night From Judge

While New York certainly loves the production it’s getting from Harrison Bader — who has hit four home runs in his first six playoff games with the Yankees — it just isn’t going to cut it on its own. New York relies heavily on the long ball and, more specifically, on the power bat of likely AL MVP Aaron Judge. In Game 1 on Wednesday, though, Judge went 0-for-4 as the Yankees struck out 17 times as a team (compared to Houston’s two punchouts).

Of course, it’s not fair to expect Judge to hit a homer every time he’s up, and, if no one’s on base even solo shots might not be enough to carry New York; but if there was a time for him to get hot, it would be right now. Judge is a huge part of the Yankees vs Astros game preview because he is a game-changer, as he proved to be in the ALDS. He needs to step up if the Yankees are going to have any chance of dethroning such a well-rounded Houston team.

Yankees’ Bullpen Looks Thin

Considering how many key relievers are injured for the Yankees, it’s kind of remarkable that they’re still playing this late into October. Aaron Boone has been forced to mix and match his bullpen choices between a few reliable arms, some starters pressed into relief duty, and young guys who don’t have much experience under their belt. Thanks to the likes of Wandy Peralta, Jonathan Loáisiga and Clay Holmes, the New York bullpen has mostly been fine in the postseason but the cracks are starting to show.

With the Yankees’ grueling schedule as of late, exacerbated by a pair of rainouts in the ALDS, Boone has needed to go to the well with a few guys more than he would like {Peralta was the first pitcher to ever throw in all five games of a Division Series} and that heavy workload influenced his rather questionable moves in Wednesday’s Game 1. He went to Clarke Schmidt and the struggling Frankie Montas as two of his first three relief options and they combined to give up three runs in two innings.

Boone’s top arms all have at least a day of rest now so he should be able to use them tonight but, as this Yankees vs Astros game preview attests to, it’s going to require a lot to go New York’s way just to have a lead late in this game for the bullpen to protect.

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