Verlander tempers Yankees hype with tweet

Verlander: ‘I think we’re the team to beat’ (0:50)

Astros P Justin Verlander says his teammates believe they are a “championship caliber” team, and are ready to prove it again this season. (0:50)

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 an 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.”

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 American League Championship Series last year before winning their first World Series title in franchise history. Verlander, a 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.