2022 ALCS Game 3 Preview: facts and storylines for Astros vs. Yankees

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Gail Burton/AP/Shutterstock (13419365e) Houston Astros pitcher Christian Javier delivers against the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning of a baseball game, in Baltimore Astros Orioles Baseball, Baltimore, United States – 25 Sep 2022

2022 ALCS Game 3 Preview: facts and storylines for Astros vs. Yankees

The Astros did what they needed to do in their first two home games of this series; they took both matchups and extended their undefeated streak in the 2022 postseason to five games while taking a 2-0 ALCS series lead.

Things get a bit tougher for them as they journey into enemy territory and face a hostile New York crowd on the road for the next 2-3 games. They’ll look to steal Game 3 with Cristian Javier on the bump, who has not yet made a start this postseason but has a ton of upside, facing an ex-Astro who is 2-0 so far in these playoffs. Here’s a quick look at Game 3:

Game Facts

When: Saturday, 10/22/2022, 4:07 p.m. CT

Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York

TV/Streaming: TBS / Watch TBS App

Pitching Matchup: Cristian Javier (11-9, 2.54 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (13-8, 3.50 ERA)

Series: HOU leads 2-0

Series Schedule

Date & Time (Central)LocationPitching Matchup
Game 1Final: HOU 4, NYY 2Minute Maid Park, HoustonVerlander vs. Taillon
Game 2Final: HOU 3, NYY 2Minute Maid Park, HoustonValdez vs. Severino
Game 3Sat 10/22/2022, 4:07 p.m.Yankee Stadium, BronxJavier vs. Cole
Game 4Sun 10/23/2022, 6:07 p.m.Yankee Stadium, BronxMcCullers Jr. vs. Cortes
Game 5*Mon 10/24/2022, 3:07 p.m.Yankee Stadium, BronxVerlander vs. Taillon^
Game 6*Tue 10/25/2022, 5:07 p.m.Minute Maid Park, HoustonValdez vs. Severino^
Game 7*Wed 10/26/2022, 6:37 p.m.Minute Maid Park, HoustonJavier vs. Cole^
* If neccessary.
^ Projected starters

Chance to put the series virtually out of reach

Only one team in MLB history has come back from down 3-0 in a best-of-seven; the 2004 Boston Red Sox. The Astros nearly did it in 2020, forcing a Game 7 against the Rays before ultimately losing the decisive game. That means the Astros have a prime opportunity in front of them.

If they can steal this game in New York, the first game of this series in front of the Yankees’ home crowd, they’ll have their opponent facing virtually insurmountable odds, needing to win four straight to overcome a team that has dominated them, thus far. It puts the pressure squarely on the Yankees, with the Astros waiting to see if they can capitalize and get some rest before the World Series. 

Javier needs to do just enough

Leading up to the postseason, you had the names of three starting pitchers written in pen with the rest in pencil. Verlander, Valdez, and McCullers Jr. are the three written in pen, with other starters like Javier, Urquidy, and Brown available for whatever situation suits the Astros needs. With McCullers’ start needing to be pushed back to Game 4 after he suffered an injury in the celebration of Houston’s ALDS sweep of the Mariners, it falls to Javier to start Game 3 of the ALCS. 

Javier has electric stuff, despite allowing one of the few runs against Houston’s bullpen so far in the playoffs. In the regular season, he appeared in 30 games, 25 of those starts, and posted a 2.54 ERA and 0.95 WHIP, one of the many Houston arms that impressed along the way. With Houston’s bullpen as sharp as they are and rested after Friday’s off day, Javier will likely be on a short leash. Javier will have done his job if he can go four, five, or six innings and pass the ball off to the bullpen with a lead or a tight game.

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