The Yankees flashed their pitching and power in a thumping of the Astros in Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday night. Let’s set the scene with a few essentials for Sunday’s Game 2, which features a Justin Verlander vs. James Paxton pitching matchup. 
We’ll say the Yankee power bats have what it takes to exploit Verlander’s only shortcoming. Meantime, Paxton is able to hand a lead over to the lockdown bullpen. The Yankees take a commanding series lead heading back to the Bronx.

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Pick: Yankees 5, Astros 3 Across the way, the lefty Paxton gets the start for the Yankees. To the extent that it means much, Paxton’s ERA was roughly a run higher on the road this season. As well, the Astros’ offense this season was slightly better against left-handers. On the bright side for New York, the team used just two key relievers in Game 1 — Adam Ottavino and Zach Britton — and neither threw more than 17 pitches. The bullpen should be ready for an extra load in Game 2 should circumstances warrant. 


The Astros will look to even the series with their ace Verlander on the mound. Verlander’s coming off an uncharacteristically rough start in Game 4 of the ALDS against the Rays, as he allowed four runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings. Some of that, no doubt, was owing to the fact that Verlander was starting on short rest. For ALCS Game 2, however, he’ll be back on his normal four days’ rest. The test for Verlander will be keeping the Yankee power bats in check. Verlander’s lone weakness during the regular season was the long ball. He allowed 36 homers in 223 innings, and the Yankees, meantime, became the second team ever to hit 300 or more home runs in a season. 
Date: Sunday, Oct. 13 | Time: 8:08 p.m. ET
Location: Minute Maid Park (Houston, Texas)
TV: FS1 | StreamfuboTV (Try for free)
Odds: HOU: -158 | NYY: +148 | O/U: 7.5
Starting pitchers: James Paxton (NYY) vs. Justin Verlander (HOU)
Follow: CBS Sports App