ALCS Game 1
New York Yankees at Houston Astros
First pitch: 5:08 p.m. PT
Probable pitchers: Masahiro Tanaka (11-9, 4.45 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (18-5, 2.93 ERA)
It seemed meant to be that these two clubs would meet at least once more in the American League Championship Series after their thrilling encounter two years ago. This season, the Astros and Yankees were decisively the AL’s two best teams.
Houston, of course, had such expectations coming into the campaign. Those hopes were only increased when they added Greinke around midseason prior to the trade deadline, and the former Cy Young Award winner responded with his usual terrific work.
In his 10 starts with the Astros, Greinke went 8-1 with a shiny 3.02 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. That, however, doesn’t include his uncharacteristic dud in Game 3 of the ALDS at Tropicana Field this past Monday when he was tagged for six runs in less than four innings. But that rare sighting of Greinke allowing that many runs only adds to a positive outlook for his next start.
Including playoffs, Greinke has yielded six or more earned runs 21 times now this decade. In the previous 20 ensuing assignments, he collectively registered a 2.69 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, spanning 133.2 innings, so he’s displayed a real tendency to bounce back right away.
He also never gave up more than four runs in any of those follow-up outings, meaning that even the worst-case scenario for this extremely lengthy sample size wouldn’t kill us, with the total being as high as 9.
And you can look for Tanaka to provide his usual steady brand of pitching. While it’s true that the 30-year-old posted far inferior splits on the road compared to at home, if you take that one disastrous showing from London out of the equation, those marks are reasonably more even.
Instead, I’ll look for Tanaka to continue the surge he’s been on since August. In fact, the right-hander limited his opponents to two or fewer runs in all but three of his last 10 starts -- including his solid ALDS Game 2 performance last week.
Tanaka has also been steady when taking on the potent Astros lineup in the recent past. Dating back to that 2017 ALCS, the right-hander has clocked in with a quality start in all five meetings opposite Houston. Play: UNDER 9 (-110)
Yesterday’s Result: Nationals-Cardinals Over 7 (loss)
2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*
Regular Season: 89-78-12, +1.05 units
Playoffs: 7-3-1, +1.9 units
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit (playoffs 0.5 unit)