HOUSTON -- Veteran outfielder Josh Reddick will come off the bench in the first two games of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees, Astros manager AJ Hinch said. Rookie Kyle Tucker started in right field in Game 1 on Saturday.
Reddick went 1-for-10 with five strikeouts in the AL Division Series against the Rays, starting all but one game. Tucker started Game 2 against Tampa Bay and went 0-for-3; he was hitless in four at-bats in the series. Reddick is 3-for-18 in his career against Yanks starter Masahiro Tanaka.
“I talked to [Reddick on Friday] and told him I was going to go a different way and to get ready to come in the game later,” Hinch said. “He’s likely to start against [Luis] Severino in Game 3. But for these first couple of games, Red is going to come off the bench at some point. I expect him to play in every game. The way the playoffs work, he can’t check out, and he won’t. He took the news great, and Tuck, albeit unfamiliar with Tanaka, has a chance to get a secondary pitch over the plate somewhere and do some damage.”
Tucker, 22, posted an .857 OPS in his second stint in the big leagues, which came this September, making 12 starts at the corner-outfield spots.
“I think he's going to do great,” Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said. “Ever since he's been up here, he's played his tail off -- every single day, great defense. He's had an unbelievable year offensively. And he's brought a lot of energy, and I think he's going to do that tonight, bring a lot of energy.”
Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu has a big fan in Bregman, who like LeMahieu attended LSU and played in two College World Series for the Tigers. Both are expected to finish in the top 5 in the AL Most Valuable Player Award race.
“He's hit always,” Bregman said. “And I think he has a great approach offensively. He hits the ball to right field, and he hits the ball -- when it's hard, he hits it to right field; when it's soft, he hits it to left field. And it's a perfect ballpark for him, too, in New York.
“He drives the ball that way, which keeps him on every single pitch. He's tough to get out. So you try and pound them in, [because] he inside-outs to right field, then you throw him something soft, and he's on time for it, because he's trying to hit it the other way and homers to left field.”
Both Bregman and LeMahieu set career highs in almost every offensive category this year and played multiple positions on the infield. LeMahieu played at LSU from 2008-09; Bregman was there from '13-15.
“He's a tough out, man,” Bregman said. “One of the toughest outs in the game.”