Whereas the NLCS features a pair of underdogs that made it as wild card teams who pulled off multiple upsets, the ALCS features the two teams we expected to be there since June.
The Astros, though tested in all three games, swept the Mariners 3-0 while it took the Yankees five games to dispatch the Guardians in the ALDS. Because of Monday’s rainout, New York will no longer have an off day ahead of Wednesday’s ALCS Game 1.
Below is a look at the series price, game odds, pitching probables and details as to how each team arrived at this point.
Regular season head-to-head: 5-2, Astros
Series price: Yankees +160, Astros -195
Game 1 ML: Yankees +169, Astros -184
Game 1 run line: Yankees +1.5 (-140), Astros -1.5 (+115)
Game 1 pitching probables: Jameson Taillon vs. Justin Verlander
Not only did Houston dominate the regular season series, but the Astros also own home field advantage and are well rested having been off since Saturday. Verlander is looking to bounce back after getting roughed up by the Mariners in Game 1 of the ALDS. Houston’s ace allowed six runs on 10 hits and got chased after just four innings pitched.
Yordan Alvarez was the star for Houston in the ALDS with a walk-off three-run home run in Game 1 and a go-ahead (and eventual game-winning) two-run homer in Game 2. Jose Altuve failed to record a hit in the series, but he was picked up by timely hits from Jeremy Peña, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel. It was Peña’s solo home run in the top of the 18th that gave the Astros in Game 3.
Pitching wise, Lance McCullers Jr. was Houston’s star with six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts in the deciding Game 3.
Both of these teams operated with a three-man rotation in the ALDS. For Houston it was Verlander, Framber Valdez and McCullers. For New York it was Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino. The Astros have an edge when it comes to a fourth starter with Luis Garcia compared Jameson Taillon.
Expected AL MVP Aaron Judge was quiet in the ALDS with just a .200 average but he did blast two homers, including one in Game 5 against the Guardians. Overall New York’s lineup was woeful without anybody hitting above .300 for the series. Anthony Rizzo was most impressive at .294. You’ll have to determine if that power outage lineup wide was a credit to Cleveland’s standout pitching staff or an indication that more struggles are on the way for the Yankees in the ALCS.
No matter which way you slice it, it makes a ton of sense why Houston is such a heavy favorite in this one.