The Yankees and Astros combined for 210 wins and 594 home runs in the regular season, which could be a hint of the kind of power that could be on display when they meet in the American League Championship Series for the second time in three years beginning Saturday night
The Yankees and Astros combined for 210 wins and 594 home runs in the regular season, which could be a hint of the kind of power that could be on display when they meet in the American League Championship Series for the second time in three years beginning Saturday night in Houston.
Both teams have talented, powerful lineups filled with star players and pitching staffs that can feature different strengths. For the Astros, it’s their three workhorse starting pitchers; for the Yankees, it’s their deep bullpen.
Both teams were banged up when they met prior to the All-Star break, but they’re healthy and hungry as they head into what should be an entertaining series.
• Rare rematches: Yanks, Astros in select company
When is the game and how can I watch it?
Game 1 will be on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
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?
Yankees: In a change from the lineups the Yankees used in sweeping the Twins in the AL Division Series, Gleyber Torres moves up to the No. 3 spot.
1) DJ LeMahieu, 1B
2) Aaron Judge, RF
3) Gleyber Torres, 2B
4) Edwin Encarnacion, DH
5) Giancarlo Stanton, LF
6) Brett Gardner, CF
7) Gary Sánchez, C
8) Gio Urshela, 3B
9) Didi Gregorius, SS
Astros: Manager AJ Hinch moved Michael Brantley to the No. 2 spot in the order in Game 5 of the ALDS, and it paid off, so he's sticking with it for Game 1. Robinson Chirinos will be back behind the plate, while Kyle Tucker will get his second start of the postseason, getting the nod in right over Josh Reddick.
1) George Springer, CF
2) Michael Brantley, LF
3) José Altuve, 2B
4) Alex Bregman, 3B
5) Yordan Alvarez, DH
6) Yuli Gurriel, 1B
7) Carlos Correa, SS
8) Kyle Tucker, RF
9) Robinson Chirinos, C
Who are the starting pitchers?
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka will get the ball for the Yankees to open the series at Minute Maid Park. He has been the Yankees’ most consistent postseason starter during his tenure in the Bronx, compiling a 1.54 ERA while winning four of his six October starts.
Astros: Zack Greinke (0-1, 14.73 ERA in ALDS) will get the ball in Game 1. Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole pitched in Games 4 and 5 of the ALDS, respectively, leaving Greinke as the choice. Greinke faced the Yankees twice this year, both while he was still with the D-backs, recording a 2.13 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP in 12 2/3 innings in those starts.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Yankees: New York figures to have its full complement of relievers rested and ready for Game 1. The Yanks have been quick to get balls into the hands of Zack Britton, Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, Chad Green and closer Aroldis Chapman. Relievers were responsible for 40 of the 81 outs New York recorded in the ALDS.
Astros: Houston used only one reliever in its Game 5 win over Tampa Bay, with Roberto Osuna working a 1-2-3 ninth inning. The Astros should have a completely rested bullpen and could add an arm. Brad Peacock, who began the year in the rotation and battled injuries, is a candidate to be added to the ALCS roster.
Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Yankees: All are considered available, including left-hander J.A. Happ, who pitched an inning in relief during Game 1 of the ALDS, and lefty CC Sabathia.
Astros: Houston will have a full stable of relievers to start the series.
Any injuries of note?
Yankees: There were minor injury concerns with Britton (right ankle) and Chapman (left hand) after the ALDS, but manager Aaron Boone said that both hurlers are good to go.
Who is hot and who is not?
Yankees: Torres (5-for-12, three doubles, one home run, four RBIs) was swinging a sizzling bat in the ALDS, and Gregorius (4-for-10, one home run, three RBIs) shrugged off a subpar September to begin October on a strong note. Sánchez (1-for-8) and Stanton (1-for-6) were among the quieter Yanks in the ALDS, though Stanton did work four walks for a .455 on-base percentage.
Astros: Brantley’s bat woke up in Game 5 of the ALDS on Thursday, when he had a couple of hits, including his first playoff homer. He hit .211 in the ALDS. Altuve (.350), Bregman (.353), Alvarez (.316) and Gurriel (.316) have done the heavy lifting for the Astros, while Correa’s 0-for-4 in Game 5 left him at .158 in the postseason. Reddick was 1-for-10 in the ALDS.
Anything else fans might want to know?
Yankees: Outfielder Aaron Hicks feared his season was over in August, when he sustained a right flexor strain, but he was added to the 25-man roster.
Astros: The Astros are the first team to advance to three consecutive ALCS since the 2011-13 Tigers. ... This is the third time in five seasons they will face the Yankees in the playoffs. Houston won the 2015 AL Wild Card Game in the Bronx before winning the 2017 ALCS in which each home team won every game. ... The Astros are 63-21 at home this year, including the postseason.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.