The American League Championship is set with the Houston Astros hosting the New York Yankees in the series-opener beginning on Wednesday, October 19th. Unlike the National League, the Yankees and Astros were the top two teams entering the postseason in the AL.
The first pitch of the series-opener is at 7:37 p.m. EST inside Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Houston is the betting favorite at -190, and the over/under total is 6.5 runs.
What to Know – New York Yankees
New York was tested by the Cleveland Guardians in the ALDS, but the Yankees pulled it in five games and are now four victories away from returning to the World Series. The Yankees came into the postseason as the second seed after winning the AL East division.
The Yankees turn to right-hander Jameson Taillon on the mound in the opener. Taillon failed to record an out in his only appearance in the playoffs, surrendering two earned runs on three hits in a loss to the Guardians. The 30-year-old finished 2022 with a 14-5 record, 3.91 ERA, and 1.13 WHIP.
Harrison Bader was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals right before the All-Star break, and that transaction is paying dividends for New York. Bader has blasted three home runs and driven in four RBIs. The Yankees hit just .177 as a team against Cleveland.
New York finished the regular season ranked 15th in the majors batting .241 as a team while averaging 4.9 runs per game. The pitching staff for the Yankees were third in the MLB and second in the AL with a 3.30 team earned run average.
What to Know – Houston Astros
Houston ended the regular season with the best record in AL and captured the top spot in the playoff bracket. The Astros took care of business in the ALDS, sweeping the Seattle Mariners in three games.
Veteran right-hander Justin Verlander gets the ball for the Astros. The 39-year-old was knocked around against the Mariners in his first playoff start, giving up six earned runs over four innings of work. He concluded the regular season with an 18-4 record, a sparkling 1.75 WHIP, and a 0.83 WHIP.
Houston smacked six home runs over the three-game sweep of Seattle, two of them off the bat of Yordan Alvarez. Alvarez drove in seven of the team’s 13 runs during the series. Alex Bregman drove in three runs, and Yuli Gurriel finished 6-of-15 at the dish.
The Astros ranked 12th in the majors behind a .248 batting average, scoring 4.5 runs per game. Houston’s pitching staff was second in the majors and tops in the AL, sporting a 2.90 team ERA.
The Pick is In
The top two teams in the AL are set up for a classic fall series, with the winner heading to the World Series as the favorite. Houston is well-rested for the opener, while the Yankees had to travel on Tuesday after knocking off Cleveland to advance. The setting sets up for the hosts to take Game 1.
The Pick: Houston Astros ML