HOUSTON — They meet again. The Astros and Yankees, the top two teams in the American League who have forged a strong rivalry the last few years, are set to clash in the AL Championship Series for the third time since 2017, with Game 1 set for Wednesday at Minute Maid Park .
It will be a quick turnaround for the Yankees, who beat the Guardians in Game 5 of the AL Division Series on Tuesday night in New York and immediately had to fly to Houston. The Astros have been off since beating the Mariners, 1–0, in an 18-inning marathon Saturday in Seattle in Game 3 of the ALDS.
The Astros have eliminated the Yankees from the playoffs three times in the last seven years. Houston won the 2015 Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium, beat the Yankees in seven games in the 2017 ALCS — the home team won every game — and won the 2019 ALCS in six games with a pennant-clinching walk-off homer by Jose Altuve in Game 6.
The Astros and Yankees put seven times in the 2022 regular season, with the Astros winning the season series, 5-2. Houston never trailed with the exception of two swings of the bat by Aaron Judge, one a walk-off single on June 23 (which capped a four-run ninth after Aaron Hicks tied it with a three-run homer) and the other a three -run blast on June 26. The teams split that four-game series in the Bronx, and the Astros won all three games at Minute Maid Park, including a doubleheader sweep on July 21.
The Yankees are looking to advance to the World Series for the first time since 2009, while the Astros are trying for their fourth trip to the Fall Classic since winning the World Series in 2017. The Yankees have lost their last four ALCS appearances.
When is the game and how can I watch it?
The ALCS will be carried on TBS. Game 1 is on Wednesday at 7:30 pm ET/6:30 pm CT.
All games are available in the US on MLB.TV (authentication to a participating Pay TV provider is required). Live games are also available in select countries outside the US For full details click here.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Yankees: Jameson Taillon (0-0, infinity ERA in postseason) draws the Game 1 start for the Yankees after Nestor Cortes was used on short rest in Tuesday’s ALDS Game 5 clincher. Taillon’s only career postseason appearance to date came in ALDS Game 2, when he was charged with two runs and three hits, failing to record an out in the 10th inning of the Yanks’ 4-2 loss to Cleveland. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said those stats don’t tell the whole story for Taillon, who was 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts this season.
A product of The Woodlands, Texas, Taillon will be facing the Astros for the second time this season. He faced Houston on June 23 in the Bronx, when he allowed six runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings, receiving a no-decision in the Yanks’ 7-6 win.
Astros: Justin Verlander (0-0, 13.50 ERA in postseason) gave up six runs on 10 hits and one walk in his Game 1 ALDS start on Oct. 11 against the Mariners at Minute Maid Park. That was Verlander’s first playoff start since losing both starts in the 2019 World Series against the Nationals. In his last five postseason starts (since Game 2 of the 2019 ALCS), Verlander is 0-3 with a 5.97 ERA. His last playoff win came in Game 1 of the 2019 ALDS when he threw seven scoreless innings against the Rays.
Verlander is 4-1 with a 2.75 ERA in eight career starts against the Yankees in the playoffs, including a complete-game win in Game 2 of the 2017 ALCS. He held New York to one run in 16 innings in that series and was named the ALCS MVP. The front-runner for the 2022 AL Cy Young, Verlander went 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA in 28 starts in the regular season.
What are the starting lineups?
Here is the Game 1 lineup:
Astros: Aledmys Díaz got this second start of the postseason at designated hitter over Trey Mancini, who has yet to pick up a hit in the playoffs.
Here is the Game 1 lineup:
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Yankees: No rest for the weary. After an early-morning arrival in Houston, the Yanks will hope for some length from Taillon. Wandy Peralta pitched in all five games of the ALDS, including 16 pitches in Game 5. Look for them to avoid him; Jonathan Loáisiga could still be in play after throwing 25 pitches in Game 5. Ron Marinaccio and Frankie Montas could both be activated for the ALCS roster, adding fresh arms to the mix. Aroldis Chapman will not be with the club.
Astros: The Astros ran through eight pitchers while piecing together 18 scoreless innings to beat the Mariners in Game 3 of the ALDS, 1-0, on Saturday in Seattle. The only pitcher who didn’t throw in the ALDS was starter José Urquidy, who was warming up in the bullpen during Game 3. But with three days off before the ALCS, the Astros’ bullpen will be well-rested. Houston will likely add another reliever for the series, considering there is only one off-day built into the schedule. Rookie right-hander Seth Martinez or veteran lefty Will Smith are candidates to be added to the ALCS roster.
Yankees: Hicks’ season ended after he suffered a left knee injury colliding with Cabrera in pursuit of a popup in Game 5; he said that his estimated recovery time is six weeks. Outfielder Andrew Benintendi (right wrist discomfort) is not expected to be available.
Astros: Houston is as healthy as it’s been all season. Outfielder Michael Brantley (shoulder surgery) and catcher Jason Castro (knee surgery) were ruled out for the season in June.
Who is hot and who is not?
Yankees: Judge and Stanton homered in ALDS Game 5 (the Yanks are 28-2 all-time when both players homer), but Bader led the club with three homers during the ALDS. Bader’s 13 total bases in the series also paced the club, ahead of Judge’s 10 and Rizzo’s nine. … Cabrera had a rough ALDS, going 2-for-19 (.105) with 10 strikeouts. … The catching tandem of Trevino and Kyle Higashioka combined to go 1-for-14 during the ALDS.
Astros: Gurriel went 6-for-15 in the ALDS with a homer. … Alvarez was 4-for-15 in the ALDS, with a walk-off homer in Game 1 and a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning of Game 2. … Bregman was 5-for-15 (.333) in the ALDS with a homer. … Tucker (4-for-15) and Peña (4-for-16) both homered once in the ALDS. … Then there’s Altuve, who went 0-for-16 in the ALDS, and Mancini, who went 0-for-6.
Anything else fans might want to know?
Yankees: This marks the Yankees’ 18th trip to the ALCS, the most all-time, though they haven’t won one since 2009. It is the Yanks’ fourth postseason series against the Astros (also 2015 AL Wild Card Game, 2017 ALCS and 2019 ALCS).
Astros: The Astros are 69-69 all-time in playoff games. … Houston is 7-3 at Minute Maid Park in the postseason since losing all four home games of the 2019 World Series. … The Astros are 4-5 all-time in their nine LCS appearances, with all four wins coming since 2005.