What to watch for as Yankees host Astros in crucial Game 3

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 13: Todd Frazier
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 13: Todd Frazier /

The Yankees and Astros are hours away from Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. Here are five things to keep an eye on throughout the night:

1. The Yankees love them some home-field advantage.

The Yankees were a better team at home (51-30) than on the road (40-41) this season. That has carried over into the postseason, with the Bombers having lost four of five road games, yet they’ve won all three home contests.

With the ALCS moving to the Bronx, the Yanks have three valuable chances to claw back from their 0-2 deficit.

2. Hit some dingers!

The majors’ top two run-scoring teams of 2017 combined for just six runs between Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS. Pitchers have been in the driver’s seat so far in the series.

That could change as soon as tonight, with baseballs expected to fly around the bandbox known as Yankee Stadium. Aaron Judge mashed at home this year, hitting .312 with 33 homers and 68 RBI.

His only home run of the postseason came there, a two-run bomb he crushed in the wild-card game. Perhaps playing at the Stadium will revive Judge’s ice-cold bat.

More from Yanks Go Yard

3. CC the plug?

Whenever the Bombers began to sink, CC Sabathia was there all year to plug the holes and right the ship. The lefty was undefeated in 10 regular-season starts following a Yankees loss, with a 9-0 record and minuscule 1.71 ERA.

Sabathia has already turned in two solid playoff outings, allowing only four earned runs while whiffing 14 in 9 ⅔ innings. The Yanks will need more of vintage Sabathia tonight in order to avoid playing elimination games for the remainder of the series.

4. Hot hitters against Morton

Charlie Morton is starting for the Astros tonight. He posted a career-high 10.0 K/9 in 2017, but the Yanks have three hitters who do damage against the righty:

  • Starlin Castro: 8-for-24 (.333), 3 HR
  • Todd Frazier: 7-for-18 (.389), 2 HR
  • Brett Gardner: 3-for-4 (.750)

5. Altuve is mild at Yankee Stadium

The Yankees, somehow, some way, need to slow down Jose Altuve. The MVP candidate has been at the forefront of his team’s two ALCS victories.

Next: Yankees' postseason won't be fun without fundamentals

A ray of hope for the Yanks: Altuve’s career .685 OPS at Yankee Stadium is 25th-worst among ballparks in which the second baseman has at least 47 plate appearances.