SPANISH HARLEM – This series couldn’t have started better from a Yankees standpoint. The Houston Astros were [not] fresh off a 5-game win over the Tampa Bay Rays, and came into game one of the ALCS looking off. The Bombers weren’t going to face Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole until game two and three – that had to make you feel good for New York. Then you win the first game and feel good going into game two, thinking you could steal another at their place. Sure enough, the game is close and the next thing you know, the series is tied. The Yankees didn’t play badly in game two but there was this feeling that the momentum shifted back to the Astros.
It was great to get out of Houston with a win. You go home and have [possibly] your ace on the staff, Luis Severino, starting.But Severino was not quite right. First, he gives up a home run to the lead off man, Jose Altuve. Then he throws a ton of pitches in the inning and you remember that he just came off the injured list a month ago. Yet, even Gerritt Cole was having some trouble in the early going, loading up the bases. But he wiggled out and came away from unscathed. The opportunities were there for the Yanks, but they didn’t make the most of it and Houston took game 3.
The media has blamed some people and rightfully so. It is their job to have opinions and give their point of views. Aaron Boone has shown too much trust to Adam Ottavino. Sure, he is a very big part of the bullpen but lately he has been a problem, having to be replaced so early… Gary Sanchez will always be ridiculed defensively and that will never change but what worries me more is his hitting. You want to believe that he will come around and give the offense the production you come to expect. Hey, the Yankees will need every bit of it if they want to advance.
And finally… today you get Masahiro Tanaka in game 4, as per the rain out yesterday. That made it so the Pinstripers were able to avoid a bullpen day in favor of their best playoff pitcher. A lot is riding on this game, obviously. The Yankees don’t want to lose any more games on home turf.
If the Yanks want to go back to Houston and win this series, it starts with this game. But you already know that.