The ability to start the series with Keuchel and Verlander in consecutive games alone might make Houston the ALCS favorite. The Yankees are good, but they aren't that good, and the Astros won't give Judge time to regroup and catch his breath.
Yankees rookie right fielder Aaron Judge set the major-league rookie record with 52 home runs in the regular season and either he or Altuve is likely to win the AL Most Valuable Player award.
The Astros led the league in scoring this season, easily topping the second-ranked Yankees with 896 runs while also leading MLB with a.282 average.
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.
From the moment Justin Verlander was traded to the Houston Astros on August 31, it was easy to envision an American League Championship Series showdown with the his longtime rivals, the Cleveland Indians. Judge went 1-for-20 in the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians with 16 strikeouts.
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Starting pitching is an area of strength for Houston, though, carrying two aces in Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander along with strong secondary options such as Lance McCullers Jr. and Brad Peacock. In 17 at-bats, Judge has only hit into play four times, including just one home run. Though he is not the hitter Judge is, he's still a slugger who hit 33 home runs in just 122 games this season. It's what happened in the wild-card game, as well as Game 5 of the ALDS.
Luckily for Houston, it has an offense explosive enough to spot its bullpen with plenty of runs. The Yankees can wear down starters and get into the bullpen like no other team. Closer Ken Giles and relievers Chris Devenski and Will Harris had big years, but they don't pose quite the same threat that New York's relievers do.
The Yankees can set up their rotation to succeed in the ALCS. He got the last six outs for the save Wednesday.
NY only scored 38 fewer runs than Houston over the course of the 162-game season. Ken Giles and Luke Gregerson are good pitchers, as are Joe Musgrove and Lance McCullers, Jr., but they're not quite up to the level of performance that NY can expect every night.
Going the distance with Cleveland might work out to New York's benefit. The Astros will start the ALCS having not seen a pitch in four days. Yet, the Yankees can not feel as great about their chances if Judge replicates this clunker of a series.