Houston (86-76) at NY Yankees (87-75)
When: Tuesday, October 6th, 2015
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
Time: 8:05 ET
TV: ESPN Radio: XM 89
They’ve played 162 games, but now the Houston Astros and New York Yankees have to play one more in order to advance in the MLB Playoffs. Houston came within one game of hosting this Wild Card contest, but fell on Sunday in Arizona 5-3. Houston led the American League West all season until the middle of September when they ran into the red-hot Texas Rangers. The Astros finished up strong winning 6 of their last 8 including 4 of 6 on the road. The Astros finished the season 6th in runs scored, 2nd in OPS, 2nd in homeruns, and 3rd in stolen bases. Their pitching was equally as good finishing 6th in team ERA. Ace Dallas Keuchel will get the start tonight. He was 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA and 216 strikeouts in the regular season. He had vastly different splits home and away. He was a perfect 15-0 at home, which is why their loss on Sunday to Arizona was huge. On the road he was 5-8 with a 3.77 ERA. He also surrendered 13 of his 17 homeruns away from home. As you can see below, the Astros dominated both games Keuchel started against New York. Keep in mind that Keuchel is pithing on 3 days rest for the first time in his career, but Collin McHugh and Lance McCullers pitched over the weekend and Scott Kazmir is struggling bad, so they really don’t have any choice.
The Yankees come into this game really slumping. If the season lasted another week, they might not even have made the Playoffs. Around the same time Toronto started winning after the trade deadline, the Yankees began to fall. New York lost 6 of their last 7 games overall to Boston and Baltimore. Their pitching gave up four or more runs in all of those loses, and that’s the main concern for the Yankees entering the Playoffs. Even if they win this game, how far can they actually go. Their offense has carried them all year. They are 2nd behind Toronto in runs scored, 5th in OPS, and 4th in homeruns. Alex Rodriguez could very well be the comeback player of the year. He hit .250 with 33 HR’s and 86 RBI. They had nine guys hit 10 or more homeruns this year. Tonight, the Yankees will go with Masahiro Tanaka who was New York’s most consistent starter this year. He was 12-7 with a 3.51 ERA and the Yanks were 15-9 in games he started giving him 5.71 runs of support per game. The Yankees won the only game Tanaka started against Houston this year, but he was rocked for 6 runs in 5 innings including 3 homeruns.
The Astros are a slight -110 favorite in this game, but probably would be at least -150 if they were playing at home. Not only is Keuchel below average on the road, the Astros are 33-48 away from Minute Maid Park, which is the worst road record of any Playoff team. Houston took the season series from the Yankees 4-3 winning 2 of 3 in New York. The Astros are also a young team going on the road for their first playoff game in 10 years. Despite all of that, I still have to take Houston tonight based mainly on a couple of factors. Keuchel’s dominance of the Yankees, Tanaka’s lack of dominance against Houston, and the fact the Yankees are slumping bad. Now, anything can happen. Keuchel was drilled for 9 runs in less than 5 innings just a few starts ago in Texas. If the Yanks can get an early lead and keep it until the 8th inning, then I think Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller will close out Houston.
Pick: Astros -110