The American League Championship Series begins tonight in Houston, Texas where the Astros will host The New York Yankees. Both teams got here through very different ALDS series. Houston pretty much dominated their series over Boston from the very start. Meanwhile, New York was in an 0-2 hole before winning three straight games to punch their ALCS ticket. On paper these teams look pretty evenly matched, both teams are capable of taking the next step to The World Series. Let’s take a look at what it will take for each team to win this series.
NYY Upset Cleveland…
The New York Yankees will win if they can continue to ride the momentum from the ALDS into this series. Sure, anytime you win a series there is momentum that exists, but this wasn’t just any series victory. The Yankees stormed back from down 0-2 in the series, and won three in a row including Game 5 on the road against the probably AL Cy Young winner. They’ll have to go through two former Cy Young winners themselves in Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. Another key for New York will be to get Aaron Judge going again. He doesn’t need to play like an MVP, but he has to be better than his 15 strikeouts in the ALDS. Judge needs to make an adjustment and find ways to put the ball in play to make the Houston defense work. Lastly, New York has to keep its’ defense tight. I’m going to particularly be watching Gary Sanchez behind the plate. He is going to need to block the ball and keep it in front of him in this series. Houston is a quick team and they will capitalize if balls start kicking away from Sanchez. I’m expecting these games to be real close and that could be the difference one way or another in a close game.
The Houston Astros will win if they continue their historic offensive performance. Houston led the league in runs scored with 896, 38 more than New York’s second place 858. Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel led the way in the ALDS both hitting over .520. The lineup is very deep and can burn you anywhere from 1-9. It’ll be very important for Houston to continue putting runs up early and playing with a lead. The Yankee bullpen is not something you want to be going up against down multiple runs. Aroldis Chapman has been absolutely lights out and has proven he can go more than just one inning at a time. Another key for Houston will be to take advantage of Home field. They need to set the tone on their home field especially in these first two games. The crowd is going to be rocking and it needs to be used to their advantage. With Games 3-5 at Yankee Stadium, Houston needs to have success early at home and carry some momentum into the road games if they are going to be successful in New York. Lastly, the former Cy Young winners are going to need to pitch like Cy Young winners. In New York’s last series, they were able to knock around Cleveland’s starting pitching which rattled the whole Indians team. Keuchel and Verlander need to be on their game and give good long starts for Houston to be successful. We will see these guys in the first two games of the series.
T. Fisher NYY vs ASTROS ALCS PICK
I nailed Houston in 4 in the ALDS, but whiffed on New York as I had Cleveland coming out of that series. Both of these teams deserve to be here, and we are going to get a great series. Both teams are highly entertaining with some big time names on the roster. I’m expecting Houston’s starting pitching to be a little more sturdy than what Cleveland gave New York, and that might be the biggest key. New York strikes out a ton, they’re going to need to cut that down if they are going to win this series. I’m going with Houston in 6.