The New York Yankees will be taking on the Houston Astros in the ALCS for a 2017 rematch. This matchup has been highly anticipated all season and it is finally time. The Astros are considered the favorite, however that doesn’t mean the Yankees have no chance. While the Yankees can take home the pennant it won’t be easy. They are going to have to play their best baseball yet if they want to continue the chase for 28.
Take Game 1 or 2
The Astros used Justin Verlander in game 4 and Gerrit Cole in game 5. It is likely neither pitchers will be available in game 1. If the Yankees want to win the series it is important for them to win games they do not pitch. Zack Greinke will likely be pitching one of the first two games of the series and while he is still an outstanding pitcher, he does not strike the same fear as Cole and Verlander. The Yankees cannot go down 2-0 and then face Cole for game 3, even at Yankee Stadium. Even if the Yankees split the first two that will do a lot for their confidence heading back to the Bronx
Starting Pitching Needs to Keep it Up
The Yankees starting pitching is the weakest part of their team. It is not bad by any means but is not as strong as their lineup or bullpen. The pitching had a good test against a Twins team who set the all time record for home runs in a season. James Paxton, Luis Severino, and Masahiro Tanaka all pitched fairly well in their games even though they did not go that deep.
This series, they will be tested even more. The Astros may not have hit as many home runs as the Twins but their lineup is just as scary. Alex Bregman, George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve are all household names and can do a lot of damage with their bat. It’s important for the starters to continue to pitch well because the Bombers cannot be down 4-0 or even 3-0 going up against Verlander and Cole because they may never get out of that hole. They don’t need to go to deep into the game but they still need to pitch effectively
Work Up The Count and Hit Dingers
The Yankees have one of the scariest lineups in the league led by sluggers Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, DJ Lemahieu and Giancarlo Stanton. Everyone knows that the Yankees have one of the best lineups in the league. What they did well last series that they have to do again is work the count. The quicker the Yankees can get Verlander, Cole or even Greinke out of the game the better. Even if someone strikes out but it was a 7 or 8 pitch at bat, thats a good AB.
The long ball will also be important for the bombers. It is very rare for the elite starters to give up more than even one hit per inning. Verlander and Cole were 1 and 2 in WHIP in the American League through the course of the regular season. So if the Yankees get a hit or two off one of the Stros starters it would be most effective if it was a home run. The Yankees’ lineup has the power to hit those home runs as well.
The 2019 ALCS has all the tools to be a historic series. This is the best Yankees team since they won the World Series in 2009 going up against the powerhouse Astros. The last time these two faced off in October, the Astros won in 7 in an epic series. No doubt both teams have only gotten better since their last appearance. While many people believe this year’s Astros are unbeatable, the Yankees have a real shot to take them out and punch a ticket to the World Series.
Author Twitter: @JackMurph27
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