It's do or die time for the Houston Astros on Friday night, as they return to their home city needing a win to force a Game 7 against the Yankees, to be played tomorrow night, if necessary. That's not the greatest situation to be in, although they probably feel a little bit better about everything with Justin Verlander taking the mound for them.
Including the postseason, Verlander has only pitched in eight games for the Astros. He was the winning pitcher in all eight games, including one outing where he pitched in relief. That also included a complete game earlier in this very series, a game in which he struck out 13 Yankees batters.
Will things go as well the second time around? I guess we will find out. New York sure was a den of horrors for the Astros. Whether that's at all connected to the Yankees having already been sanctioned this season for illegal use of video technology to acquire signals, well, only the Yankees know that for sure. But they're not in New York any more.
Yankees starter Luis Severino is no slouch. His 2.98 ERA in the regular season is nothing short of impressive. You could double Severino's ERA and there were still three Orioles starters with a worse ERA than that. And he gave up only 21 home runs in 193.1 innings, which in this year's home run environment is actually pretty dang good.
If the Yankees win, it's over. There would be a throwback Yankees-Dodgers World Series. If the Astros win, we get some more exciting do-or-die baseball tomorrow night. I think we all know what outcome all civilized people prefer.
|NEW YORK YANKEES||HOUSTON ASTROS|
|Brett Gardner - LF||George Springer - CF|
|Aaron Judge - RF||Josh Reddick - RF|
|Didi Gregorius - SS||Jose Altuve - 2B|
|Gary Sanchez - C||Carlos Correa - SS|
|Greg Bird - 1B||Yulieski Gurriel - 1B|
|Starlin Castro - 2B||Alex Bregman - 3B|
|Aaron Hicks - CF||Marwin Gonzalez - LF|
|Todd Frazier - 3B||Evan Gattis - DH|
|Chase Headley - DH||Brian McCann - C|
|Luis Severino - RHP||Justin Verlander - RHP|