The Astros’ roster construction gives manager A.J. Hinch some flexibility. Thanks to Marwin Gonzalez‘s versatility, Hinch can get Evan Gattis‘ bat, Carlos Beltran‘s experience or Cameron Maybin‘s speed in the lineup. Having the injured Jake Marisnick would help, though.
The Yankees have some similar versatility. They have the veteran infielder Chase Headley, the experienced DH Matt Holliday and can choose between lefty-hitting outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and switch-hitter Hicks. Both teams have players who can provide an impact off the bench.
Joe Girardi has the experience, with one championship under his belt already. But he was also the subject of much criticism for his non-challenge call in the ALDS and would have had to answer for that if the Yankees had lost.
Hinch has been great all season and made a gutsy and controversial move to bring in Verlander in relief in Game Four against Boston. The gamble paid off, and how he manages the pitching staff in this series could be crucial.
Prediction: Astros in six
This series will be plenty competitive, and the Yankees can certainly win some games with their bullpen and some homers. But the Astros’ starting pitching and their deep lineup will give them the edge. They’ll finish the series in New York in Game Six with a nail-biter.
***Statistics courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball-Reference***