1. Who brings the thunder at the plate?
In Houston’s sweep of Seattle, three pitches changed the entire complexion of the series. Yordan Alvarez took two of these pitches deep for lead-changing home runs in Games 1 and 2, while Jeremy Peña’s 18th-inning solo shot would be the only score in a 1-0 clincher at T-Mobile Park.
Will Alvarez continue to provide the power at the plate against the Yankees? So far this season, in 19 plate appearances, the 25-year-old slugger is slashing .313/.421/.750 with a pair of homers against New York pitching. The combination of Peña batting just before Alvarez proved to be a magical formula against Seattle. Can New York pitching find a way to stymie that combination?
On the other side, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge powered the Yankees to Tuesday’s win over Cleveland. While Judge did hit two home runs against Houston this season, he’s also just 4-for-27 (including eight strikeouts) against Astros pitching this year, slashing .148/.258/.370.
Stanton has three home runs, but a slash line of .208/.240/.583, meaning it’s been feast or famine for the two Yankee sluggers against Houston this season.
The big bats for both teams will draw plenty of attention early in this series, but will they be difference-makers?