Justin Verlander and Jose Altuve had the worst post season series of their respective careers. And the Astros still won.
If someone gave you a magic crystal ball before the ALDS began and you could only see the numbers of Justin Verlander and Jose Altuve for the series, you’d see them and say “Wow. We must have gotten swept by the Mariners.”
Instead it was the Astros doing the house cleaning.
It’s hard to imagine Verlander repeats his four inning debacle of a start where he gave up six runs on ten hits in game one of the ALDS. The same can be said for Altuve going another three games without a home run much less a hit.
If the Astros can sweep a team as good as the Mariners with their franchise cornerstone going hitless and the presumptive Cy Young winner getting rocked for six runs, it doesn’t bode well for the New York Yankees who barely came out of their series against the Cleveland Guardians with their postseason lives.
The Astros beat probably the best pitcher they will face all postseason in Luis Castillo and scored runs off of two of the best relievers in baseball between Andres Munoz and Paul Sewald. The Yankees have Gerrit Cole but he won’t be able to pitch until game three in New York unless they choose to pitch him on three days rest in game two in Houston.
Nestor Cortes pitched in game five of the ALDS on three days rest on Tuesday which means he won’t be able to go on full rest until game four in New York on Sunday.
The Yankees won a series, celebrated and then immediately had to hop on a flight to Houston for game one of the ALCS tonight. Exhausted and worn down we’ll see if they have the energy to work some walks and home runs off Justin Verlander and if their pitching can remain sharp enough to hold down Houston.
The Astros seem to have a huge advantage as even though they’ve now had to navigate another long lay-off, it’s a better position than the Yankees who come in tired and possibly hungover to game one of their first matchup having to face a future hall of famer and most likely three time Cy Young Winner.
A win against the Yankees would be a great way to quell all their complaints and fabrications about why they lost to the Astros in 2017 and 2019.
Overall the Astros seem in great shape to win this series. Their rotation is set up the way they want, their bullpen is rested, and their offense possesses enough power to put them over the top.
On the other side the Yankees rotation isn’t lined up well at all with their aces not being able to go until later in the series. And due to the Astros pitching depth the advantage Gerrit Cole would have in a game three over another team’s number three pitcher in the postseason just isn’t there. Cole will face Lance McCullers Jr. who just threw six shut out innings in an extremely hostile Seattle environment and was the Astros best pitcher last season finishing fifth in Cy Young voting in 2021.
The Yankees lineup will be tired having flown over night after a clubhouse celebration they most likely couldn’t fully enjoy considering the presence of game one of the ALCS hanging over their heads tonight. If their focus is in any way lessened against Justin Verlander, it will be a long night and in time, a short series.
Game one of the ALCS is tonight at 6:37 CT.