The top two teams in the American League, the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, will face off beginning Saturday night in Game 1 of the ALCS. These two teams are evenly matched, which is why it wouldn't be a surprise that this series becomes an instant classic.
So, what are we to expect in the first game of this series in Houston? Here are four bold predictions for the Astros and Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS.
4. Masahiro Tanaka Shuts Down Astros Lineup
Masahiro Tanaka may leave a lot to be desired over the course of the regular season, but when October roles around he becomes a dominant frontline starter, as he owns a 1.54 ERA in six career postseason starts. That will continue on the road against Houston, even though the likes of Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and George Springer have great numbers against him.
3. Zack Greinke Continues to Get Shelled in October
Zack Greinke is a former Cy Young Award winner and is one of the highest-paid players in the sport, but he's had a hard time getting the job done when the playoffs role around. Greinke already gave up six runs over 3.2 innings to Tampa Bay in the ALDS, and that will continue in Game 1 of this series, even though it's in Houston.
2. Yankees Bullpen Struggles Late in Ballgame
The mighty Yankees bullpen had their way with the Twins in the ALDS and they were equally as dominant over the regular season, but for the first game of this series against a vaunted Astros lineup, they have a hiccup late.
1. Brett Gardner Comes Up With Clutch Swing to Win Game 1 for Yankees
The Yankees have added Aaron Hicks to the ALCS roster, which could lead to him getting starts in center field over Brett Gardner. However, Gardy has been such an integral part of this lineup, which is why he batted third during the ALDS. To make sure he continues to play and help this team win, Gardner will come through late in Game 1 with a clutch swing.