The New York Yankees lost a heartbreaker in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series and now trail the Houston Astros 2-0 in the series.
After a tough loss in Game 1 of the ALCS against Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros, the New York Yankees turned to ace Luis Severino to try to get the series tied up before heading back to the New York for Game 3 on Monday. Severino pitched well enough to put the Yankees in position to win but it just wasn’t enough as the Yankees lost another heartbreaker to Houston in a 2-1 loss with Jose Altuve scoring the winning run off a Carlos Correa RBI-double.
This was a huge opportunity blown for the Yankees for many reasons. First off, they had a chance to redeem a tough loss in Game 1 by tying up the series. Secondly, after failing to pull off a Game 2 victory, they will be at risk of losing home field advantage to the Astros as they’ll be returning home Monday for the first game of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium.
Despite the Astros having the third-best record in baseball at 101-61 and the best road record in the majors at 53-28, the New York Yankees are the best home team in baseball at 51-30. Their confidence should still be through the roof to push the series to the brink if they can capitalize on home field advantage.
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Justin Verlander was spectacular tonight, earning his third win of the postseason by going nine strong innings, allowing five hits, one run, and 13 strikeouts to give the Astros a commanding 2-0 lead in the ALCS. If Charlie Morton and the Astros get the better of the Yankees Monday night, then the Yankees will find themselves in an extremely tough position. Being down 0-2 against the Cleveland Indians isn’t the same as being down 0-2 against this vaunted Astros lineup. Expect potential AL MVP Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa to be the All-Stars they are, continuously being instrumental factors and putting their team in position to compete for each and every game.
The key for the New York Yankees moving forward will be to try to make Brian McCann beat them defensively with his arm behind the plate. Throughout the playoffs, the Yankees have lacked smart baserunning and the aggressiveness that’s needed to get into a pitcher and catcher’s mind.
As was evident with Jose Altuve in the first two games, having a base stealing threat on base creates havoc and headaches for opposing defenses and it can be the difference maker in a loss or a win. If the Yankees can manage to get Astros starters’ pitch counts high enough towards the fifth or sixth inning, their chances of winning will be extremely high. Throughout the season and even in the postseason, the Astros bullpen has been their weakest link.
Thankfully for the New York Yankees, that’s where they thrive the most. Keep the game close, be smart on the basepaths, get the starter’s pitch count up, and attack the bullpen, and we might just see another upset in the making for the Yankees. Only time will tell.