New York: Saturday evening begins what should be that epic series in October with the Astros and Yankees. So make the comparisons, analyze the stats, We are back to a rematch in the Bronx and in Houston of a classic ALCS
And this should be no different from the seven games in October of 2017. then the Astros moved on to the World Series. All seven won by the respective teams on their home field. The Astros again, as was in 2017, have home field based on the best record in the Americna League.
Except, this time, the Yankees are different. Those that remain from that 2017 wild card team is not expecting a repeat of losing a decisive game.
This time the Yankees are the AL East division winner and not the wild card team out of the AL. Houston, winners of the AL West. Both teams combined for 210 wins.
Yes this will be an epic series with evenly matched teams. Perhaps the exception and advantage for the Yankees is their bullpen and minus Dellin Betances, a Latino Sports AL Relief pitcher MVP recipient.
“We feel we can hang with anybody,” Brett Gardner said. “We’re going to have to play well if we’re going to stay alive. Only one team goes home happy at the end and hopefully it’s going to be us.”
Gardner is one of those who remain from that 2017 team. So does the veteran CC Sabathia who hopes to comprise the ALCS roster after being left out of the ALDS sweep over the Twins due to a sore left shoulder.
And Masahiro Tanaka, who gets the start in Game 1, is also reminded how it was for the 2017 Yankees who lost that ALCS series to the Astros.
By chance, the Yankees would have prefered the Tampa Bay Rays to visit the Bronx, regardless when the series moves to the Bronx next Tuesday night there is the advantage of being home. They won at home, 57-24, though the Astros took four of seven overall this season from the Yankees.
So you do the math as the Yankees prepare this week for their second ALCS in the last three years,
“We got confidence in ourselves to do our job,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Games 1 & 2, in Houston, that is the task. And the Yankees most likely won’t face the Astros’ best, Justin Verlander. They will get Gerrit Cole who finished out the Tampa Bay series and is the talk of the postseason with his ability to throw strikes and throw scoreless innings.
“You just need to be better than the opponent,” Tanaka said. “I think it comes down to the individuals being able to execute and really go on that field and be able to do their job.”
Advantage, could go to the Yankees with their ability to hit home runs as they finished second in baseball to the Twins in a record setting baseball season of balls going out of the yard.
But this is October baseball and pitching wins ball games.
So, a few years later, the situation for the Yankees would be the same. Win at least one of the two in Houston and return to the Bronx next week with a chance to advance and return to the Fall Classic for the first time since 2009 where they took it all.
Because pitching is so vital in the postseason, facing Verlander and Cole, two frontline starters, means the Yankees have to be savages in the box as they continued to do in their quick disposal of the Twins.
Reached Tuesday, hours after his team was eliminated, Twins reliever Sergio Romo said about the Yankees, “They attack and know how to keep attacking with their at bats. Slider, curve, fastball, just good all around hitters in that lineup.”
Monday night, and with Romo on the mound in the eighth inning, Cameron Maybin got hold of a breaking ball that went for a home run down the left field line that added cushion to the Yankees 5-1 win.
“You can throw Verlander, Cole, don’t matter, “ he said. “They know how to get on base.”
Verlander has that tendency of giving up one too many, 36, second among starters in the American League.
But the Yankees relish the opportunity. They are ready for the Astros.. This is what they played for and the gap in between series, as Boone said, will definitely help their bullpen which is considered one of the top three in baseball.
“I know out guys will use this as an opportunity,” Boone said. “To kind of recover a little bit, stay fresh, and I know we’ll come out and be focused and I feel like sharp when the bell rings.”
Prediction: Astros again in 7-Games. And it will be epic.
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