It’s the American League Championship Series, which means the Astros are playing. With all the self-inflicted turmoil in the wake of the tick theft scandal, they’ve reached the ALCS for its sixth consecutive season. For the third time in that run, they will match the New York Yankees. The first two times, Houston had the upper hand—much to the chagrin of Yankees fans.
And in Game 1 of this series, the pattern held. Astros ace Justin Verlander kept getting better and Houston finally broke through against the Yankees bullpen. The Yankees’ task won’t get any easier in Game 2 Thursday night, when Astros lefty Framber Valdez takes the mound. He is a quality starting machine and one of the hardest pitchers to homer against.
While the Yankees technically had a better overall offense in 2022, it came with serious ups and downs. Aaron Judge was the constant in his history-making 62 home run season. The rest of the lineup is still being worked on and manager Aaron Boone is making changes for Game 2.
Harrison Bader – the center fielder he got for his defensive chops – was the Yankees’ leading hitter so far in October and will move into the leadoff spot just ahead of Judge. Rookie shortstop Oswald Peraza will get the start at shortstop and relegate Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the bench again. Peraza, a top contender, got his first taste of the big league in September, hitting .306 with one homerun in 18 games.
The Astros got a serious postseason shock from their own rookie shortstop, Jeremy Peña, who homered to seal Game 1.
Game 2 starts at 7:37 PM ET on TBS. Follow all the action here on Yahoo Sports.
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