The ALCS game 1 free pick Yankees at Astros is the matchup pretty much everybody predicted back in Spring Training. It’s the record-setting offense of New York vs. one of the most intimidating pitching staffs assembled in recent memory of Houston. The Astros have home field advantage after their 107 regular season wins were slightly more than NYY’s 103. That is what makes Houston a -150 favorite in game one. Does that line seem a bit high?
Yankees Rested and Ready
New York got here by sweeping Minnesota in 3 games in the ALDS. The Yankees completely dominated one of the best offenses in baseball by a combined score of 23 to 7 in the series. Not only were the wins quick and decisive, it has allowed New York to rest since October 7th while Houston was stretched to a 5th game by Tampa Bay.
If there’s an offense in the majors that can handle Houston’s deep rotation of ace-after-ace pitching it’s the Yankees. New York finished a single HR off Minnesota’s MLB record setting 307 during the regular season and Aaron Boone’s team was #1 in runs/game at 5.82. Gleyber Torres tore up the Twins going 5-12 with a HR and 3 doubles last round. He’s one of 6 Yankees batters that hit above .285 in the ALDS.
Regardless of how great the New York offense is, they are still +139 underdogs in the ALCS game 1 free pick Yankees at Astros. Houston listed at -150 seems on the high side, is that a slap in the face to New York starter Masahiro Tanaka? It shouldn’t be as the veteran has a 1.54 ERA in 6 career postseason starts. That includes the 2017 ALCS vs. Houston in which he posted a 1.38 ERA in two starts. Tanaka threw 5 innings of 3 hit, 1-run ball a week ago vs. the Twins.
Astros Ready on a Quick Rebound?
It was a much more grueling series than expected when the Astros had to put all hands on deck to get the 5 game win over the Rays. Houston won though, and more importantly they defended their home field winning all three at Minute Maid Park. Location is the major reason Houston is such a big favorite in the ALCS game 1 free pick Yankees at Astros as they are now 63-21 at home on the year.
Houston has a tough pitching matchup vs. Tanaka on Saturday. They’ve hit a decent .272 as a team vs. the Yankees starter and with a ton of familiarity in 162 AB. The Astros scored just 2 runs although had 8 hits in their only outing vs. Tanaka on the season, a 7-5 Yankees win back in late June.
The reason the Astros have high hopes for game one despite just playing on Thursday night is because Zack Greinke is on the mound. Houston needs regular season Greinke though, not the one who has a 9.49 ERA in his last three postseason starts. Greinke carried a no hitter into the 9th in his last start of the regular season, but gave up 6ER in just 3.2 IP at Tampa Bay in game 3 of the ALDS. Greinke was solid vs. the Yankees in the regular season (2.13 ERA in two games) but the lights shine a little brighter in October.
2019 ALCS Game 1 Free Pick: Yankees at Astros
-150 is just too much to lay in this one with the way Greinke has pitched in the postseason as of late. The Yankees have the offense to put the pressure on the Houston starter, not to mention the enormity of the situation of the American League Championship Series as a whole. New York is rested, especially in the bullpen which is already one of their strengths. Then again with Tanaka’s postseason results, Boone may not need many relievers here.
Pick: New York Yankees +136