HOUSTON ASTROS (106-62)
at NEW YORK YANKEES (95-75)
ALCS – Game 3 – Yankee Stadium – Bronx, NY
First pitch: Monday, 8:08 p.m. ET
Line: Houston +115, New York -125, Total: 8.5
The Yankees will be hoping to claw their way back into the series with a victory over the Astros in Game 3 on Monday.
The Astros have completely dominated this series against the Yankees, but the score doesn’t necessarily show that. Houston has outscored New York only 4-2 through two games, but LHP Dallas Keuchel and RHP Justin Verlander were pretty much unhittable in their starts. The Yankees were desperate for those guys to be taken out of the game, as they knew they couldn’t get to them. New York now hosts Houston and the Bronx Bombers badly need to win each of these next two at home. The starters in this Monday night matchup are going to be RHP Charlie Morton (0-0, 4.15 ERA, 6 K in one postseason start) for Houston and LHP CC Sabathia (0-0, 3.72 ERA, 14 K in two postseason starts) for New York. It’s worth noting that both teams are unbeaten at home in the playoffs, so the Yankees will definitely be feeling pretty good about getting out there on Monday. The Astros did, however, win three of their four games at Yankee Stadium this season, and their ability to hit for power certainly has something to do with the success they’ve had there. It has been one of the easiest ballparks in America to go yard in since New York moved to the new stadium.
The Astros are really playing well in this series, but the surprising thing is that their success has come from the pitching staff. Both Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander did their jobs against the Yankees in their first starts in this series, but it’s now up to Morton here. The righty did not do too well against the Red Sox last series, as he allowed two earned runs on seven hits in only 4.1 innings of work in his only start. If he is hit that hard against the Yankees on Monday then New York will almost certainly win this game. And while it might not seem like a desperate situation for Houston in Game 3, the team definitely doesn’t want to give New York any momentum heading into Game 4. On offense, one guy that has been scorching hot lately has been 2B Jose Altuve. He is hitting a ridiculous .565 with three homers and four RBI in the postseason, and the Astros will be hoping that he can keep himself going. He is 2-for-6 with two doubles against Sabathia, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he had another big game here.
The Yankees can’t lose on Monday night and that is why it’s a good thing that Sabathia will be on the mound here. The lefty has been reliable for New York all season and has done some of his best work in big games this year. He struck out nine batters and allowed just two earned runs in 4.1 innings in a Game 5 win over the Indians last series and the Yankees would certainly take another two-run outing here. They’d just strongly prefer that he is able to work into the sixth or so, as they don’t want to have to burn their bullpen with another big game coming up on Tuesday. On offense, the Yankees badly need both OF Aaron Judge and C Gary Sanchez to get hot moving forward. Both have been miserable throughout the course of the postseason and there is just no way the Yankees can advance if their best players are not getting hits.