The New York Yankees avoided getting a 3-0 hole yesterday by blasting the Astros by a score of 8-1. CC Sabathia was fantastic, as he’s always been against this lineup. But the story of the night was how the Astro offense was stale again. They didn’t get their first run across the plate until the 9th inning. Sabathia was already on the bench enjoying a cocktail by then. The offense hasn’t been hitting at all through the ALCS, and they’re lucky to have a 2-1 series lead. They’ve put up a whopping 5 runs through the first three games. Houston is used to scoring more than 5 runs per game, never mind in three games. Can they manage to shut down their firepower at the plate AGAIN?
If they happen to get another standout performance from Sonny Gray and the rest of their pitching, Lance McCullers and company must be perfect. If not, we’re heading into Game 5 all tied up. Remember that the Yankees get three straight games at home, so if they protect home, they could go back to Houston a 3-2 series lead and a chance to wrap things up. The Yanks have a record of 55-30 so it isn’t farfetched. Despite the win last night, though, I think the Astros will ultimately come out of this serious victorious. Nevertheless, the Yankees looked like a completely different team on the diamond last night at home.
You don’t want to get Aaron Judge, and they may have done just that. If the Yanks win the whole series, it will be because Judge caught fire. He stepped up defensively and at the plate. Judge made a terrific snag up against the fence, and then he went deep to tack on 3 runs for the Yanks. Lance McCullers will get the nod tonight. The Astros were debating going with Dallas Keuchel in this game, but they decided on not using him on short rest. In a Game 6 or 7, though, all bets are off when it comes to rest. McCullers has been getting rocked in the second-half, we’ll see if he can fix it in Game 4 the ALCS. Head below for the pick.
Houston Astros vs. N.Y. Yankees Pick
Lance McCullers (7-4, 4.29 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (10-13, 3.63 ERA)
It’s been a tale of two different stories for McCullers in 2017. He came out in the first-half and predictably pitched well. However, I don’t know what he did during the All-Star break, but he’s fallen since then. McCullers posted an ERA of 3.05 in the first-half, but a 8.23 ERA in the second-half. That is quite the drastic change from what he was doing earlier in the season. In his last three starts, he owns a 6.92 ERA. An undiagnosed injury, maybe? He was battling an injury earlier in the year. Who knows but all I know is that A.J. Hinch will get blasted for this decision if it doesn’t work out. McCullers also holds a 5.17 ERA on the road.
The Astros could have also opted to go with Brad Peacock. I suspect that the leash is going to be short on McCullers. At the sign of danger Peacock will probably get the call. This looks like a chance for the Astros’ offense to finally get on track. Sonny Gray enters with a 3.54 ERA, which is respectable, but the Yankees traded for him to perform at this point in the postseason. He owns a 6.43 ERA, including a 1.79 WHIP and .394 OBA. The Astros need to find a game to explode offensively in, and this could be it against Gray. If they don’t, they might be in trouble. I expect both offenses to look good, with some runs put up on the board. It leads to a selection on the OVER.
PICK: OVER 8.5 (-110)