The New York Yankees have set up an American League Championship series with the Houston Astros – and the Bronx outfit may have some revenge on their minds.
We take a look at who has qualified for the American League Championship series and who is favourite to make it to the World Series.
|What:||Who: New York Yankees versus Houston Astros. Game One of Seven|
|Where:||Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas|
|When:||19:37 EDT, Wednesday, October 19th|
|How to watch:||TBS|
|Odds:||New York Yankees +170; Houston Astros -200|
It took time and rain delays but in the end, the New York Yankees eventually were placed into the American League Championship series to face the Houston Astros following a 5-1 win over the Cleveland Guardians in game five of the ALDS to win the series, 3-2.
For the third time in six years the Yankees have a trip to the World Series on offer.
The Yankees have a score to settle with Houston as their World Series dreams were scuppered in 2017 and 2019 by the Astros.
Houston won their division with 106 wins and were eventually the best team in the American League coming into the playoffs, that is something the Yankees were for the best part of the regular season.
Speaking to the official New York Yankees' website, team manager Aaron Boone said: "We'll walk in there (Houston) with some confidence. We know they're a great team, rested and ready. We look forward to the challenge."
Slugger Aaron Judge rose to the occasion despite an average postseason. Judge started the ALDS 0-8 but with their season hanging in the balance, he unleashed his trademark swing and launched a solo home run into the right-field seats in the second inning.
That was following Giancarlo Stanton's three-homer in the first inning, Yankee Stadium was electric. The young Cleveland Guardians outfit had no response, eventually being worn down by the impressive Nestor Cortes.
Game one of the ALCS will be played with Yankees' Jameson Taillon facing Justin Verlander. Taillon made a short celebration with his team on Tuesday knowing that they have a quick turnaround and a trip to Houston.
Verlander gave up six runs on 10 hits in his Division game against the Seattle Mariners in a rare event of him missing his mark and battling his mechanics. The 39-year-old said that he has made some adjustments in the time since the game and he has pitched really well this season, despite a short injury period in August/September.
Verlander spoke to the official Astros' website and said: "I'm very thankful it wasn't a major injury and I don't think it was a big issue, but it did probably create a little bit of mechanical issues.
"I've been working on that ever since I came back. I've been working really hard. I think hopefully after the last one, I really think I identified some stuff that was kind of the key component. It's just kind of deep mechanical stuff that I really probably shouldn't go too far into. It's just that we don't want to go too deep into the woods."
Verlander makes his 33rd postseason start when he takes the ball in game one of the ALCS and is favourite for his third AL Cy Young award at the end of the season. He needs one win to tie Hall of Famer John Smoltz for second place on the all-time postseason wins list with 15.
Speaking to the official Astros' website, team manager Dusty Baker said: "We're not worried about Justin. I mean it can happen to anybody. I don't care how great you are, or what your track record says, that's why you play the game. So we anticipate Justin to come out and throw a great game."
The Astros have lost just one of their last eight fixtures and that was to the Philadelphia Phillies in the regular season (may be a World Series fixture). They swept the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS 3-0 after the Mariners had performed heroics to get into the postseason alone and beat the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Yankees have won five and lost five of their last ten games and that has been how the Bronx Bombers have been playing since the All-Star break. They dominated the American League in the opening half of the regular season.
The Yankees fell off spectacularly following the break but managed to steady themselves and still win the AL East Division, but without the dominance that everyone expected. That said, they have gone further than the Los Angeles Dodgers, the supposed best team in baseball. Can the Yankees be that team again?Safer Gambling Week (17-23 October) – Let’s talk about safer gambling. Click here for more information on independent resources. Gamble Responsibly.