By: Billy Lewis
The New York Yankees are set to host the Houston Astros in the ALCS this afternoon. Luis Severino will get the ball for the Yankees and Gerrit Cole will take the mound for the Astros.
Taking Care of Business
The Bombers were able to do what everybody thought they needed to, they won Game One and left Houston with a 1-1 series split. Game One saw a pitching matchup of Masahiro Tanaka and Zack Greinke. Tanaka continued to build up his postseason resume. He was lights out for six innings. Tanaka only gave up one hit and struck out four.
Greinke also went and threw six innings for the Astros. The Bronx Bombers were able to get to Greinke, scoring three runs on seven hits. Gleyber Torres got the Yankees on the board with an RBI double and added another home run in the sixth. Giancarlo Stanton added a home run before Torres ended the day with five RBIs.
Game Two could come back to bite the Yankees. The Astros sent out Justin Verlander while the Yankees sent James Paxton to the mound. Paxton struggled early and Aaron Boone pulled him in the third inning for Chad Green.
Green got the Yankees out of a third-inning jam. Paxton only went 2.1 innings but only allowed one run on a Carlos Correa double. Verlander was perfect for the first three innings before he walked DJ LeMahieu to start the fourth. Aaron Judge followed up the walk with a laser over the centerfield wall and gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
Boone would again go to the pen in the fifth inning, despite a dominant outing by Green. Adam Ottavino was brought in to face George Springer. The 2017 World Series MVP pounced on a first-pitch hanging slider and tied the game at two.
Game Two would stay tied 2-2 until the 11th inning. Gary Sanchez struck out with runners on first and second in the top of the 11th. JA Happ took the mound for the Yankees in the bottom of the 11th, after coming in relief in the 10th. Correa lead off the 11th for the Astros and jumped on a first-pitch fastball to hit a walk-off home run and send the series to New York tied 1-1.
Pivotal Game Three
Severino will take the ball for the Yankees and look to build on his ALDS start. Sevy went four innings and struck out four without giving up a run. It wasn’t without trouble however, Severino loaded the bases in the bottom of the second with no outs. Sevy got Miguel Sano to pop out and then struck out Marwin Gonzalez and Jake Cave to get out of the inning with no runs scored.
Escaping the inning without a run could be a huge moment for Severino’s playoff psyche. He’ll have to build off that against the Astros Tuesday afternoon.
Cole on the other hand has been flat out filthy this season. His last loss was May 22nd and the last time the Astros lost a game he started, was July 12. The Yankees saw Cole once this season, April 9th and the Astros won 6-3. Cole went seven innings only giving up the three runs.
Looking at Game Three, the Yankees would love to see another line for Cole ending with three or more runs given up. Cole is coming off of two ALDS starts where he only allowed one run in 15.2 innings and struck out 25 in the process.
The ALCS is the heavyweight bout baseball fans were waiting for all season. Game Three could go a long way in delivering the ultimate knock out blow as the series goes on.