Tanaka-Greinke in ALCS opener; Astros line up aces vs Yanks
HOUSTON (AP) — Zack Greinke will start the AL Championship Series opener for the Houston Astros against the New York Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka on Saturday night.
After the 2009 AL Cy Young winner and midseason acquisition starts Game 1 at Minute Maid Park, the Astros will follow with Justin Verlander, the 2011 AL Cy Young winner, and then Gerrit Cole after his two dominating starts in the AL Division Series against Tampa Bay.
“Pretty easy layout. They’ll all be on regular rest,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. ”’Three exceptional starting pitchers, and happy to line them up that way.”
The Yankees, off since finishing their three-game sweep of Minnesota on Monday in the other AL Division series, will go with James Paxton for Game 2 and Luis Severino for Game 3 in New York on Tuesday night. The order in the ALDS was Paxton, Tanaka and Severino.
“Again, I felt like it was a good decision. Tough one to be made but similar to the Division Series, where I was going back and forth a lot,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Just felt like Masa here in Game 1 is the way I wanted to go in the end.”
Both Hinch and Boone said their starters for Game 4 were to be determined, based on the status of the series.
Greinke allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings of his ALDS Game 3 start against Tampa, a night before Game 1 winner Verlander pitched on short rest and lost Game 4. Cole struck out 10 in the decisive Game 5 on Thursday night after 15 strikeouts to also win Game 2.
Tanaka allowed one run with seven strikeouts over five innings in Game 2 of the ALDS last Saturday, and Severino went four scoreless innings in the clinching game against the Twins on Monday. Paxton struck out eight and allowed three runs over 4 2/3 innings in the ALDS opener.
“As far as facing the Houston lineup obviously it’s going to be a challenge,” Tanaka said through his translator. “But you try not to do anything sort of different going into the game. You prepare for it. You make your plans and basically you go out there and execute.”