It is a clash of traditions: the 27-time World Series champion New York Yankees facing off against a team still looking for its first title in its 55-year history. That has carried over into the postseason as a whole.
Verlander made only two starts at Minute Maid Park after his trade from the Tigers, but he was almost flawless in them, allowing just one run on four hits in 14 innings, while striking out 16.
When the Yankees receive a solid start, they are pretty tough to beat. In his 162.2 innings and 10-12 record this year, Gray put up a 3.54 ERA with 153 Ks.
Luckily for Houston, it has an offense explosive enough to spot its bullpen with plenty of runs. In the ALDS, the two had a combined five hits, two home runs, five RBIs, four walks, and 26 strikeouts.
Right-hander Justin Verlander has looked rejuvenated since the Astros acquired the 34-year-old in a trade from the Detroit Tigers on August 31. Aaron Judge had one hit, a huge two-run double in Game 4, in the ALDS and set a record for most strikeouts in a postseason series with 16. Yet, the Yankees can not feel as great about their chances if Judge replicates this clunker of a series. Major League Baseball has yet to announce start times beyond Game 3 for the ALCS. The Yankees, in having to go to five games, will now be rolling into the ALCS with little time off.
Still, the Yankees can counter.
Game 1 of the ALCS will go down Friday night at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Plus, Gray was pretty "meh" in his Division Series start, giving up three earned in 3.1 innings.
Tanaka will be coming off a terrific outing against the Indians, when he shut them down for seven innings in their Game 3 1-0 win, while Severino rebounded from his brief wild-card outing to pitch well in Game 4.
They are much better equipped than Boston to handle Houston with their pitching, and they have been scraping together an average of just under five runs a game, which is more than enough in the playoffs. Check out some of the reactions below, including some more trolling from the New York Yankees official twitter handle. The Yankees have yet to see Verlander this season, boding well for the veteran's chances in this series.
Statistics are courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.