To their fans delight, the Yankees will meet the Houston Astros in game one of the ALCS tonight. This will be a long-awaited rematch of the 2017 ALCS, which resulted in a win and eventual World Series victory for the Astros. This season, the Astros have dealt with a similar injury situation as the Yankees have experienced, just not as severe. Even with their injuries, like the Yankees, they powered through and went 107-55 this season and managed to easily capture their division. Although the Rays took them to game five in the ALDS, the Astros slew of premier pitching and offense will make them very hard to beat.
Although they’re facing a team full of superstars, there are a few keys that the Yankees should follow that could send them to the World Series for the first time in 10 years. The first key is to be very cautious with their pitching. The Yankees can’t get stuck down by a lot of runs early in the game due to how strong the Astros rotation is. Regardless of how much offensive power the Yankees have, the Houston rotation is truly remarkable. Astros Manager A.J Hinch said that they would go with Zack Greinke in game one, Justin Verlander in game two, and Gerrit Cole in game three. All three of these pitchers are far better than what the Yankees have to offer. This means that if the Yankees dig themselves into a hole early in any of these games, it’ll be tough to climb out of it.
Another key to winning the series is to not let the Astros home-field advantage get the better of the Yankees. The last time the Yankees and Astros faced in the ALCS, the home team won every game. If the Yankees can perform well against Zack Greinke in game one, they will have the chance to create momentum against the Astros and hopefully win their games at home.
Another key to the Yankees success is if Gary Sanchez starts to play well again. If he can start hitting at his best, the Yankees lineup will be even more dangerous and the Astros powerhouse pitching staff will have more to deal with.
In terms of what the Yankees pitchers will have to deal with, the Astros hitting has been absolutely fantastic this season. With players such as Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa, the Yankees will certainly be faced with a tough task.
Since the Yankees don’t have a strong starting rotation, it will be very interesting to see how Aaron Boone handles these games. There is a good possibility that Boone will pull his starters after only five to six innings to ensure that they only show their best stuff, and so their better members of the bullpen handle the more important parts of the game.
Although many people think that the Astros have this series in the bag, the Yankees will put up a huge fight. It is also worth noting again that the Tampa Bay Rays, who finished well behind the Yankees during the regular season, almost won their series against Houston. On top of this, they are also getting the likes of Aaron Hicks and CC Sabathia back for the series. This will surely add a spark to the pinstripes locker room. At the end of the day this will be an extremely entertaining series no matter who wins. No matter what, the Yankees should feel accomplished after overcoming all of their injuries and succeeding this season.