The winner of Friday’s Rays-Yankees Game 5 in San Diego will meet Astro at the ALCS. Astro split from a 29–31 record season to sweep the Twins in the AL Wild Card Series, winning 11–6 on Thursday, beating the A’s in four matches in the ALDS at Dodger Stadium. Astro did not play the Rays or Yankees in the regular season, but a rematch with New York would drop the appeal.
• ALCS presented by GEICO, Game 1: Sun., 8pm ET / 7pm CT on TBS
|sport||The date||Time||To match||TV|
|Village 1||11 October||TBD||HOU @ NYY / TB||TBS|
|Village 2||12 October||TBD||HOU @ NYY / TB||TBS|
|Village 3||13 October||TBD||NYY / TB @ HOU||TBS|
|Village 4||14 October||TBD||NYY / TB @ HOU||TBS|
|* 5 grams||15 October||TBD||NYY / TB @ HOU||TBS|
|* 6 grams||16 October||TBD||HOU @ NYY / TB||TBS|
|* Village 7||17 October||TBD||HOU @ NYY / TB||TBS|
Astro has knocked the Yanks out of the playoffs three times in the past five seasons, including ALCS wins in 2017 and AL19. The balance of power in the AL was believed to be when they signed Gerrit Cole away from Astro, and now Cole could pitch against his former team.
As Astro awaits his next opponent, here are some things to think about:
When does ALCS start?
Game 1 is set for Sunday at Petco Park in San Diego, meaning the Astro can drive relatively less from Los Angeles in the coming days. And relax, Houston fans. This is the only game on the schedule for Sunday, so it will be a one-night game (Astro’s first six playoff games were game games this year).
Who will be the home team?
Because the Astro are the remaining teams with the fewest points, they will be the guest teams for Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 and the home team for Games 3, 4 and 5. This means that when those visitors come, they will bat first. And last when they are the home team.
What are the pros / cons of facing Yankees?
For entertainment purposes, this is where it is. The Astros and Yankees have built a lot of rivalry over the years, largely due to their postseason meetings. This will be their third meeting in the ALCS in the last four years. Houston also defeated New York in the 2015 wild card game.
Cole, who faced Astro, will have to watch TV after losing the stinging Game 7 World Series following his dirty game from Houston, during which he waited in the bullpen to shut down the Nationals. What’s more, Aaron Judge of the Yankees was a critic of Houston in the fall of the sign-theft scandal and said in the spring that he had lost a lot of respect for him. That stuff is filling Astro, even though they won’t accept it.
Of course, the Yankees have a deep lineup that will be a huge challenge for Houston’s pitching staff. New York’s pitching has been somewhat of a mess in the playoffs and will have to try to reduce the ALDS offense that scored 33 runs in four matches in the ALDS and beat 12 homers.
What are the pros / cons of facing the rays?
Tampa Bay is the top seeded team in the AL playoffs, so it could be a more difficult matchup than the Yankees. The Rays won the rugged AL East and now have no material to go to the playoffs. Tampa Bay took over the ALDS last season from Game 5 at Astro, before Astro removed them to Houston.
Like the Astros, the Rays’ bullpen was hit hard by injuries this year, but Tampa Bay tapped into its depth to cover the coverings. The Rays feel that there is an endless stream of electric weapons that can match up against Astro’s predominantly right-handed lineup. And during the 2017 title run, he made a début in one of Houston’s heroes, Tyler Glasow, Ryan Yarbroz, Blake Snell, and Charlie Morton.
An interesting subplot? Astro general manager James Klick was hired in February after 14 years in the Rays organization. Rays joined as coordinator of base operations in 2006 and was promoted to director of baseball research and development and later director of baseball operations.
What will Astro’s affair look like?
A lot of will depend on the situation
This means that the Astros will probably go with some combination
If the series goes to games 6 and 7, the Astros can rest Valdez and Macular regularly.
Will Astro make any changes to the ALCS roster?
Astro added a pitcher –
What about Petco Park? Has Astro played there recently?
Houston was swept away during a three-match series against Padres at Petco Park on August 21–23. But Astro has won eight of its last nine playoff games away from Houston. This includes all three games from last year’s World Series, both games from the Wild Card Series in Minnesota, and four ALDS games in Los Angeles.