It’s the American League Championship Series, which means Astros are playing. Through all the self-inflicted turmoil following the sign-stealing scandal, they reached the ALCS for the sixth straight season. For the third time in this race, they clash with the New York Yankees. The first two times, Houston prevailed — much to the chagrin of Yankees fans.
And in Game 1 of this series, the model held. Ace of the Astros Justin Verlander got better as it went, and Houston finally broke through against the Yankees bullpen. The Yankees’ task won’t get any easier in Game 2 on Thursday night, when Astros are left-handed Framber Valdez take the mound. He is a quality starting machine and one of the toughest pitchers to face.
While the Yankees technically boasted a better overall offense in 2022, it came with some serious peaks and valleys. Judge Aaron was the constant of his historic 62-home run season. The rest of the lineup is a work in progress and manager Aaron Boone is making changes for Game 2.
Harrison Bader — the center fielder acquired for his defensive chops — has been the Yankees’ best hitter so far in October and will move to No. 1 just past Judge. Rookie shortstop Oswald Peraza will start at shortstop and relegate again Isiah Kiner-Falefa on the bench. A top prospect, Peraza got his first taste of the big leagues in September, averaging .306 with an 18-game homer.
The Astros got a serious playoff jolt from their own rookie shortstop, Jeremy Penawho homered to seal Game 1.
Game 2 begins at 7:37 p.m. ET on TBS. Catch all the action here on Yahoo Sports.
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