The Yankees had to wait three days, but now their ALCS matchup is set.
The Astros defeated the Rays 6-1 in a winner-take-all Game 5 in Houston, securing their trip to the ALCS. Gerrit Cole was once again phenomenal on the mound, tossing eight innings while allowing just one run on two hits. The game was Cole's 11th straight outing with at least 10 strikeouts.
The Astros jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first inning off of Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, and they never looked back.
"The Yankees are obviously a formidable squad, Cole said after the game when asked about facing the Yankees. "The AL East, we all know what that division poses with the reigning world champions and obviously the Tampa Bay Rays in there. They've got a lot of talent, a boatload of talent. That's just how they've always made. They've very stoic, they grind out a lot of at-bats. It's going to be a tough matchup."
The Astros finished the regular season with 107 wins, the most in baseball and three more than the Yankees, giving Houston home-field advantage for the ALCS. First pitch of Game 1 is set for Saturday at 8:08 p.m.
The Bombers went 3-4 against the Astros in the regular season. In early April, the Astros swept the Yankees in a three-game series at Minute Maid Park. In June, the Yankees returned the favor by taking three of four from Houston at Yankee Stadium.
"It's going to be a battle. They've got a great team," Alex Bregman said of the Yankees. "They hit the ball out of the ballpark, they've got good pitching. It's very similar to our team. Both teams were a little banged up during the year but we persevered until we got til the ALCS and we've got a matchup with them again. It was an unbelievable matchup that we had with them during the regular season. It's gonna be fun, man. It's gonna be a blast."
This year's series is a rematch of the 2017 ALCS, which the Astros took in seven games en route to a World Series title. After dropping the first two games, the Yankees won the next three to take a 3-2 lead into Game 6. The Astros responded, though, winning the final two games to advance to the World Series against the Dodgers.
The Yankees swept the Twins in three games in their ALDS matchup, with the clinching win coming on Monday.