HOUSTON — They call Yankee Stadium “The Zoo,” and after the Astros pocketed both of the first two games of this American League Championship Series, the Yankees will need their home-field advantage more than ever.
Gerrit Cole will be on the mound for the Yankees as the Bombers return home for Game 3 of the ALCS on Saturday, facing an 0-2 deficit in the series. The Astros have yet to announce their starting pitcher, but whoever is on the mound, the Yanks must find a way to make more contact after striking out 30 times through the first 18 innings of the ALCS.
“We worked really hard to be in this position,” Cole said. “We worked really hard to get through the Division Series. So we’re excited to celebrate that hard work at the beginning of the game with the fans and excited to get after baseball. We just get another opportunity to play, which is what we love to do.”
When is the game and how can I watch it?
The ALCS will be carried on TBS. Game 3 is on Saturday at 5:07 p.m. ET/4:07 p.m. CT.
All games are available in the US on MLB.TV (authentication to a participating Pay TV provider is required). Live games are also available in select countries outside the US. For full details click here.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Astros: Manager Dusty Baker announced right-hander Cristian Javier will start Game 3 and Lance McCullers Jr. will go in Game 4 on Sunday.
Yankees: Gerrit Cole (2-0, 2.03 ERA in the postseason) gets the start for the Yankees, pitching on extended rest following his Game 4 outing vs. Cleveland in the ALDS on Sunday. Cole yielded two runs over seven innings in a winning effort vs. the Guardians, walking one while striking out eight. As a Yankee, Cole is 4-1 with a 3.21 ERA in six postseason starts. His 11.51 strikeouts per nine innings ratio is the third highest in postseason history, behind Kenley Jansen (12.95) and Stephen Strasburg (11.55).
What might the starting lineups look like?
Astros: Through five games in the playoffs, the Astros have stuck with the same top six in the batting order. Don’t expect anything to change as the Astros face Cole, their former teammate in the Bronx. We’ll give the nod at DH to Aledmys Díaz, who’s 2-for-7 in his career against Cole with four strikeouts but handles the fastball well. Trey Mancini is 4-for-18 in his career against Cole with five strikeouts.
Yankees: Bank on the Yankees delivering another lineup shuffle after trying Harrison Bader in the leadoff spot and giving Oswald Peraza a start at shortstop in ALCS Game 2. With the larger left-field area at Yankee Stadium, don’t expect Giancarlo Stanton to play defense, which limits Matt Carpenter to a pinch-hitting option.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Astros: The only Astros pitcher who’s worked in both ALCS games is closer Ryan Pressly, who threw one inning in each and registered a total of 37 pitches. After a day off Friday, he should be ready for Game 3. Houston has yet to pitch Ryan Stanek — their best reliever in the regular season — in the ALCS because of the emergence of Bryan Abreu, who’s allowed one hit and struck out seven batters in 4 1/3 innings in the postseason. The Astros still have fresh arms in Seth Martinez and starters Luis Garcia and José Urquidy, neither of whom has worked yet in the ALCS.
Yankees: The Yankees’ bullpen is relatively fresh, at least as much as can be expected at this time of year. Wandy Peralta has pitched in all but one of the Bombers’ postseason games so far, so perhaps Boone will steer clear — but not likely, considering Peralta’s reputation for being rubber-armed. Jonathan Loáisiga tossed 23 pitches in Game 2.
Astros: Houston is as healthy as it’s been all season. Outfielder Michael Brantley (shoulder surgery) and catcher Jason Castro (knee surgery) were ruled out for the season in June.
Yankees: Aaron Hicks’ season ended after he sustained a left knee injury colliding with Cabrera in pursuit of a popup in Game 5; he said that his estimated recovery time is six weeks. Outfielder Andrew Benintendi (right wrist discomfort), infielder DJ LeMahieu (right foot ligament) and right-hander Ron Marinaccio (stress reaction in right shin) are traveling with the club but were not placed on the ALCS roster.
Who is hot and who is not?
Astros: Yuli Gurriel was 2-for-3 in Game 2 and has recorded two or more hits in three of five postseason games this year. Gurriel is 10-for-26 in the playoffs with two homers. … Altuve was 0-for-4 in Game 2 to stretch his hitless streak to 0-for-23, the worst such streak to start a postseason.
Yankees: Harrison Bader continues to get on base at an impressive clip. He logged a hit and drew a walk in Game 2 …. Josh Donaldson, who has struggled this postseason, was 1-for-3 with a double in Game 2. … Anthony Rizzo, though 0-for-4 Thursday, drove in a run, marking four straight games that he’s logged an RBI. … Conversely, Kyle Higashioka struck out in all three plate appearances in Game 2 and has five strikeouts in six postseason at-bats.
Anything else fans might want to know?
Astros: The Astros are 11-5 all-time in postseason games vs. the Yankees — their most such wins vs. any opponent — including 8-1 at Minute Maid Park. … Houston has scored 20 runs in five games, and 16 of those runs have come via 10 homers, including all three of their runs in Game 2. … The Astros have won 12 of their past 15 one-run games in the postseason, dating back to 2017. Three of their five wins this postseason have been by just one run. … The Astros have played 12 of their last 13 games at home (regular season and postseason).
Yankees: The Yankees did not hit a home run in Game 2, snapping an MLB-record 23 straight postseason games with a homer, dating back to Game 1 of the 2019 ALDS. … The Yankees have overcome an 0-2 deficit in a playoff series six times previously, including two times since 2001: the ’17 ALDS vs. Cleveland and the ’01 ALDS vs. Oakland.