The Yankees and Astros play Game 6 of the best-of-seven ALCS on Friday night at 8:08 in Houston. The Yankees lead the series, 3-2, after winning all three games at Yankee Stadium.
|George Springer, CF||Brett Gardner, LF|
|Josh Reddick, RF||Aaron Judge, RF|
|Jose Altuve, 2B||Didi Gregorius, SS|
|Carlos Correa, SS||Gary Sanchez, C|
|Yuli Gurriel, 1B||Greg Bird, 1B|
|Alex Bregman, 3B||Starlin Castro, 2B|
|Marwin Gonzalez, LF||Aaron Hicks, CF|
|Evan Gattis, DH||Todd Frazier, 3B|
|Brian McCann, C||Chase Headley, DH|
Who is starting for the Yankees?
RHP Luis Severino, who allowed one run on two hits while walking two and striking out none in 4.0 innings in Game 2. He was pulled early due to an apparent shoulder issue, but checked out fine after the game.
Who is starting for the Astros?
RHP Justin Verlander, who allowed one run on five hits while walking one and striking out 13 in 9.0 innings in Game 2.
1. Tanaka-like effort from Severino
The Yankees rotation has flat out dominated the Astros is this series and if they want to end it Friday night, Severino will need to shine. Severino was pitching well in his Game 2 outing before being removed as a precaution when Yankees manager Joe Girardi saw his pitcher stretching out his throwing shoulder. So long as Severino does not come out too strong, he could once again take down another top pitcher this season.
2. Solve the other Astros ace
Hitting Verlander is going to be difficult if Game 2 is any indication of what he'll provide in Game 6. However, the same was said of the Yankees Game 5 opponent, Dallas Keuchel. The Yankees must remain committed to the game plan they have drawn up against Verlander. They demonstrated the ability to make adjustments against Keuchel and if they replicate that against Verlander, their chances to finish off the series improve.
3. Bullpen, bullpen, and bullpen
The performance differential between the Yankees and Astros bullpens has been dramatic. Relief pitching is a major advantage for the Yankees, to the point that Girardi will be quick to the bullpen if needed, while Astros skipper A.J. Hinch will loathe to move to relievers, even if Verlander does not have his best stuff. If Game 6 is a tight contest late, in which the starters are no longer on the hill, the edge shifts tremendously to the Yankees.