Game 1 of the American League Championship Series could not have gone better for the Yankees, who walked away with a 7-0 victory on the road after Masahiro Tanaka shut down the Houston Astros and his offense more than held up its end of the bargain. Game 2 on Sunday night will pit Houston’s Justin Verlander against the Yankees’ James Paxton.
How to Watch: The game, scheduled to begin at 8:08 p.m. Eastern, will be broadcast on FS1 and can be streamed at FoxSports.com.
Maybin Replaces Stanton in Yankees’ Lineup
Cameron Maybin will start in left in place of Giancarlo Stanton in Game 2.
According to James Wagner of The Times: “Giancarlo Stanton injured his quad running down the line on his infield hit but was O.K. enough to play further into the game, per Aaron Boone. He received an MRI and a strain was revealed. Boone hopes Stanton will return this series.”
James said Boone told reporters that Stanton was available off the bench or in emergency situations, but given Stanton’s injury it is more likely the Yankees will not use him.
Keys to the Game
Justin Verlander is an intimidating presence on the mound and is easily on the short list for the best pitcher in the majors over the last four seasons alongside Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Chris Sale. His lone weakness is the long ball; Verlander has allowed 121 home runs over those four years, compared with 94 for Scherzer, 86 for Sale and 72 for deGrom. That weakness could seem glaring against a Yankees lineup that hit 306 home runs this season — just one fewer than the Twins, who set a major league record — and added three more in Game 1.
Starting opposite Verlander is James Paxton, the Yankees’ prized off-season acquisition. Paxton struggled so much in the first half that the team began to wonder if his character was a bad fit for New York. He recovered well, going 10-2 after the All-Star game with 91 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings. He struggled in the division series against Minnesota, failing to get out of the fifth inning in a game the Yankees went on to win, but can potentially rely on his history of success against the Astros. He is 8-4 with a 3.24 E.R.A. in 14 career starts against Houston.
There has been no shortage of superlatives used to describe Gleyber Torres over the last two seasons, but after he went 3 for 5 with a homer in Game 1, his teammates were gushing about the 22-year-old Torres all over again. “It’s kind of scary for opposing pitchers, but exciting if you’re a Yankees fan,” outfielder Brett Gardner told reporters. “He’s just so talented and has a knack for putting the bat on the baseball. No moment is too big for him.” In this season’s four playoff games, Torres is batting .471 with six extra-base hits (two home runs) and nine R.B.I.
Check back before Game 2 for updates.