The New York Yankees have been widely projected this offseason as a World Series contender, but Justin Verlander has offered a subtle reminder that the Houston Astros are still a force to be reckoned with.
Verlander took to Twitter on Tuesday to object to a MLB Network host’s comment that there is “no way you can’t think that the Yankees are the team to beat in the American League.”
🤔 I can think of a reason. https://t.co/Pt3nTunBNK
— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) February 13, 2018
The host, Chris Russo, admitted during the segment that his remark about the Yankees was “not going to make Houston happy.”
Verlander and the Astros defeated the Yankees in seven games in the ALCS last year before winning their first World Series in franchise history. The former MVP and Cy Young Award winner went 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA and had 21 strikeouts in 16 innings over his two starts against New York in the ALCS.
But after their offseason acquisition of reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees face lofty expectations in 2018.
First-year Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday that his team is embracing the challenge of winning a championship, and reliever Dellin Betances said it “won’t be a great year for us” if New York doesn’t win the World Series.