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Astros vs. Yankees AL Championship Series Preview

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros celebrates with Jose Altuve #27 after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox during game three of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 8, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros celebrates with Jose Altuve #27 after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox during game three of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 8, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Bench

BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 09: Carlos Beltran #15 of the Houston Astros celebrates with teammates in the clubhouse after defeating the Boston Red Sox 5-4 in game four of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Astros advance to the American League Championship Series. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 09: Carlos Beltran #15 of the Houston Astros celebrates with teammates in the clubhouse after defeating the Boston Red Sox 5-4 in game four of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Astros advance to the American League Championship Series. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

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.

Edge: Even

Coaching

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.

Edge: Astros

Next: Astros: How to take down the New York Yankees

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***

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