What could the Yankees possibly do to follow up the thrill of last night’s victory? They had been hitless in the first until Aaron Hicks delivered a stunning three-run homer to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, and on the eve of earning himself a $19 million payday for 2022, Aaron Judge walked it off with a 3-0 missile into the left-field corner. Give the Yankees’ constant battles against the Astros since 2015, that had to feel it good.
One of the men who contributed most to New York’s recent torment at Houston’s hands is taking the Yankee Stadium mound for the first time since the 2019 ALCS: Justin Verlander. The Astros’ ace was out for almost all of 2020-21 with Tommy John surgery and subsequent rehab, but despite turning 39 in February, the future Hall of Famer hasn’t missed a beat.
In 13 starts this year, Verlander has a 2.30 ERA, 3.40 FIP, and 0.887 WHIP, and even though he’s not striking out as many batters as he did pre-Tommy John, he’s still registered about a K per inning. The White Sox surprisingly knocked him around in his last outing on June 18th, but the Yankees and their fans know that the man is not to be trifled with. Even for a 52-18 ballclub, Verlander is a tough matchup.
Opposing Verlander will be Luis Severino, who remembers all too well how frustrating it can be to square off with him. Sevy pitched against Verlander twice in the 2017 ALCS, and the Astros emerged victorious both times. His own last start pre-Tommy John was in Game 3 of the 2019 ALCS, which the Yankees lost to Houston. In the present though, Severino has a 3.27 ERA, 3.72 FIP, and 1.061 WHIP in 12 starts in 2022. He’s fanned 29.9 percent of all batters faced, though his nine K’s last time out on June 19th after recovering from COVID-like symptoms didn’t stop the Blue Jays from scoring five runs off him in five innings.
Joey Gallo takes a seat in the starting lineup tonight, as the Yankees will use Hicks, Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton in the outfield while giving Anthony Rizzo a half-day off at DH. DJ LeMahieu will take Rizzo’s spot at first with Josh Donaldson covering third, and after back-to-back starts, Kyle Higashioka steps in behind the plate. Expect Jose Trevino to return to the lineup tomorrow since it’ll be a day game after a night game.
Also, if you’re trying to track this game down, remember that it’s not on normal TV in the New York City area; instead, it will be on Amazon Prime Video. If you’re outside the blackout zone, then you can watch as you normally do on MLB.tv.
Go Yankees, go baseball, and beat the damn Astros.
How to watch
Location: Yankee Stadium — Bronx, NY
First pitch: 7:05 pm ET
TV broadcast: AT&T SportsNet Southwest
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1380
Online stream: MLB.tv, Amazon Prime Video