With the Astros pulling out a dramatic 3-2 win over the Yankees on a Carlos Correa walk-off homer in the 11th inning of Game 2 on Sunday night, the American League Championship Series is turning into the heavyweight fight it promised to be.
The teams split two games at Minute Maid Park and will shift the series on Tuesday afternoon to the Bronx, where the Astros lost all three games they played in the 2017 ALCS. Houston will be brimming with confidence with dominant starting pitcher Gerrit Cole on the mound, considering he hasn’t lost a game in five months.
The Yankees, who went 57-24 at home this year in the regular season, will try to gain the upper hand in the series behind Luis Severino, who made only three regular-season starts and didn’t allow an earned run in four innings in Game 4 of the AL Division Series against the Twins.
When is the game and how can I watch it?
Game 3 will be on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET/3 CT on FS1.
All games telecast on TBS, FOX and FS1 will be available to MLB.TV subscribers who are authenticated subscribers to the applicable network through a participating pay TV provider.
What are the starting lineups?
Astros: Facing a right-hander, Josh Reddick returns to the lineup. Martín Maldonado will be back behind the plate to catch Cole, as he has done since he was traded back to Houston in July.
Yankees: Having been limited to two runs over 6 2/3 innings by AL Cy Young Award contender Justin Verlander in ALCS Game 2, the challenges do not get any easier for the Bombers, as they’ll now need to tackle Cole. With Giancarlo Stanton injured and after missing Game 2 with a right quad injury, Aaron Hicks makes his first start since Aug. 3.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Astros: Cole will start for Houston, which has been pretty much an automatic win for the last three months. The Astros have won the last 15 games started by Cole, who set a franchise record in the regular season with 326 strikeouts. He has struck out at least 10 batters in 11 consecutive games, which is an MLB record.
Cole is 18-0 with a 1.66 ERA in his last 24 starts, striking out 251 batters in 162 1/3 innings in that span. His only start against the Yankees was on April 9, when he gave up three runs in seven innings and struck out six, so the Yanks haven’t seen him since he became pretty much unbeatable.
Yankees: Severino takes the ball for the Yanks in what will be only his fifth start of 2019, after losing most of his year to right shoulder and lat injuries. Severino last pitched in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Twins, and though he worked four scoreless innings, they were not breezy -- he scattered four hits and walked two, striking out four.
It will be the eighth career postseason start for Severino, who is 1-2 with a 5.33 ERA in those October efforts, dating back to the 2017 AL Wild Card Game.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Astros: If Cole pitches deep into the game like he has been doing, the Astros will have high-leverage relievers Will Harris, Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna ready to go, although Joe Smith acquitted himself nicely in Game 2 and might get some higher-leverage opportunities.
Yankees: Monday’s off-day will help to reset the Yanks’ bullpen alignment, with manager Aaron Boone likely using a quick hook behind Severino. Prior to his ALDS start, Severino said that he would be satisfied with five good innings; that should be even more true against the Astros.
Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Astros: Considering the ALCS had a day off Monday, there shouldn’t be a reliever who isn’t available on Tuesday. Osuna and Smith each pitched 1 2/3 innings in Game 2, but they should bounce back after a day off.
Yankees: It’s probable, but not certain, that the Yanks will have J.A. Happ and/or CC Sabathia back in time for Game 3. Sabathia only threw five pitches in Game 2, retiring the only batter he faced, but there’s always a question with the 39-year-old’s physical status. Happ threw 12 pitches, the last of which was Correa’s game-winning homer.
Any injuries of note?
Astros: Springer sustained some leg cramps during Game 2 and was limping noticeably, but he said he will be fine.
Yankees: Stanton was not in the starting lineup for Game 3 after sustaining a right quadriceps strain in Game 1. Boone said that he'd be available off the bench, though if Stanton can't run, that would leave the Yankees with only Cameron Maybin and catcher Austin Romine as potential pinch-runners. The Yankees, who are carrying 13 pitchers, already have no infielders on their bench.
Who is hot and who is not?
Astros: Altuve (3-for-7), Correa (2-for-8) and Brantley (2-for-9) are the only players with multiple hits in the first two games of the ALCS. Altuve is hitting .370 in the postseason, and Bregman is hitting .318. Correa is hitting .185 in seven playoff games, Springer is 4-for-29, Chirinos is 2-for-16, Tucker is 1-for-8 and Reddick is 1-for-10.
Yankees: Torres (9-for-22), Judge (6-for-18) and LeMahieu (7-for-22) have been the Yanks' most consistent performers this postseason. Encarnacion (4-for-21) and Sánchez (2-for-17) have been cold, with both players going hitless in Game 2.
Anything else fans might want to know?
Springer’s homer in Game 2 gave him 12 career postseason home runs, an Astros franchise record. … Correa’s 27 postseason RBIs are the most in Astros history. … Torres is riding a nine-game postseason hitting streak. … Since Game 1 of the 2017 ALCS, Chad Green has pitched 14 postseason innings, allowing only one earned run.