The Yankees and Astros play Game 2 of the best-of-seven ALCS on Saturday afternoon in Houston at 4 p.m. The Astros lead the series 1-0 after taking Game 1, 2-1, on Friday night.
|George Springer, CF||Brett Gardner, LF|
|Josh Reddick, RF||Aaron Judge, RF|
|Jose Altuve, 2B||Didi Gregorius, SS|
|Carlos Correa, SS||Gary Sanchez, C|
|Marwin Gonzalez, LF||Greg Bird, 1B|
|Yuli Gurriel, 1B||Starlin Castro, 2B|
|Carlos Beltran, DH||Aaron Hicks, CF|
|Alex Bregman, 3B||Todd Frazier, 3B|
|Brian McCann, C||Chase Headley, DH|
Who is starting for the Yankees?
RHP Luis Severino, who allowed three runs on four hits with nine strikeouts during a win in ALDS Game 4 against the Indians.
The right-hander struggled against Houston this season, carrying a 10.57 ERA after allowing nine runs in just 7 2/3 innings.
Who is starting for the Astros?
RHP Justin Verlander, who won two games for the Astros in the ALDS -- once as a starter and once as a relief pitcher. In his one start against the Red Sox, Verlander yielded two runs on six hits in six innings.
In his career against the Yankees, Verlander holds a 6-7 record with a 3.87 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 18 career starts.
1. Severino builds on ALDS start
Severino will be making his third playoff start and he's going to feel even more calm than he did in the ALDS. After an atrocious Wild Card game, Severino was more like the pitcher the Yankees witnessed in the regular season. Severino did not fare well against the Astros this year, but when the postseason begins, what happens in the regular season goes out the window. Severino will need to outlast and outperform Verlander.
2. Yankees offense needs to show up
After striking out 14 times, the Yankees must lay off pitches well outside the zone, something they could not do against Dallas Keuchel and Ken Giles. Working Verlander to get to a vulnerable bullpen will go a long way to the Yankees success. Yankees batters will also have to come through in clutch situations, having gone 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranding seven base runners.
3. Lean on well rested bullpen
While Masahiro Tanaka could not match zeroes all the way through against Keuchel in Game 1, he was able to pitch through the sixth inning. This allowed Yankees manager Joe Girardi to utilize just Chad Green the rest of the way. The remaining key backend relievers -- Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman will be able to pitch without limits, especially with an off-day coming Sunday. Whether Severino is on his game or not, we could see a lot of the bullpen action this afternoon.