Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander celebrates a dominant performance vs the New York Yankees in the ALCS. Oct 19, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) reacts after striking out Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (not pictured) to end the sixth inning in game one of the ALCS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros held off the New York Yankees 4-2 in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.

The Houston offense cranked three home runs and only struck out twice; that’s quite the rare power/excellent contact combo in modern baseball. New York starting pitcher Jameson Taillon struck out zero batters over 4 1/3 innings pitched.

The Yankees’ offense, meanwhile, struck out a whopping 17 times.

And the 15-strikeout differential is the largest in MLB postseason history.

Eight different Yankees batters struck out, with Matt Carpenter sporting a golden sombrero with four strikeouts in four plate appearances. Six different Yankees struck out at least twice.

Nine-time All-Star Justin Verlander recorded 11 of those strikeouts and allowed one run over six innings as the Houston starting pitcher.

Verlander has now reached double-digit strikeouts in eight different postseason games. That’s an MLB record, by two games.

Additionally, Verlander set the record for most career postseason strikeouts with 215. He tops the mark of 213 strikeouts from Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

And Verlander set another record by simply making the start. It was Verlander’s ninth career postseason start vs the Yankees, which tops the previous record of eight postseason starts vs a team.

Verlander, 39, will receive his third AL Cy Young Award after a remarkable 2022 season in which he put together a 1.75 ERA over 175 innings pitched. And he’s carrying that success over to the postseason in search of his second World Series ring.

The Astros are 4-0 in the postseason and are the clear World Series favorites at the moment; FiveThirtyEight gives Houston a 44% chance at the title, while the Yankees come in second at 21%. Having Verlander certainly helps those chances quite a bit.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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