Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Astros: Three Roster Bubble Questions for the ALCS

New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius celebrates with catcher Gary Sanchez after hitting his second home run during the third inning of Game 5 of the 2017 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. (David Richard | USA TODAY Sp Astros: Three Roster Bubble Questions for the ALCS
Kristopher Love | 13 October, 2017, 01:06

The opponent is certainly a factor, but Houston fans will be excited to attend an ALCS game regardless.

The plays: Yankees plus-160 in series; Over 8.5 EVEN in Game 1; lean to Overs in other games at 9 runs or below. Also, a seven-game series is slightly different than a five-game series. Both teams have young, exciting, powerful talent; solid starting pitching; and good bullpens - as close to the "full package" as a team can get.

The Astros, by virtue of winning their ALDS in four, will have been off for three days before they face NY, giving their bullpen (which certainly wasn't overtaxed) time to regroup. Keucheul is 6-3 with a 2.26 ERA in 71 2/3 home innings this season.

Once in Cleveland, the Yankees were carried by Didi Gregorius, who hit two home runs in the first three innings to give NY a 3-0 lead. Masahiro Tanaka has been unhittable at Yankee Stadium, allowing six earned runs in 49 innings over his last seven home starts.

The Astros have never won a World Series since their inception in 1962, and their lone appearance came in 2005 when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in four games. If they win, that means the two teams who have had the longest championship droughts, the Indians and Cubs, would win in consecutive years.

The median ticket price for Game 1 increased by 47 percent overnight, and Game 2 prices went up by 43 percent on SeatGeek. After Boston won four straight elimination games, they didn't lose again en route to the World Series title.

The New York Yankees are betting underdogs against the Houston Astros in 2017 ALCS.

Houston's pitcher for Game 1 is left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who has bludgeoned the Yanks a bunch of times, including the 2015 AL wild-card game. Houston also gets production from Yulieski Gurriel, George Springer and Carlos Correa, who has pummeled the Yankees. Houston finished just a shade behind NY with a 4.03 ERA from their rotation, though Verlander was only with the team for a month. NY finished second behind Houston in runs, total bases and on-base percentage. Robertson may not pitch in the first game and Chapman just an inning if needed. For Houston, it is the relentless, energetic 5-6 Jose Altuve; for the Bronx Bombers, it's the towering power of 6-7 Aaron Judge. But the best remaining bullpen in the AL shapes up well. Sonny Gray (3.11 ERA on the road) and Luis Severino (2.24 ERA on the road) would make sense as the team's Game 1 and Game 2 starters.